Sikh We Are Sikhs . House Divided . Or

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by IJSingh, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. IJSingh

    IJSingh Writer SPNer

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Mine is one Sikh’s (my) perspective on the Sikh journey; enjoyment directly proportional to the generated conversation. More thoughtful the disagreement the greater my joy.

    Under the lens is a project defining a place for Sikhs and Sikhi in the North American mainstream. We need it. The idea is not new, the attempt is one of the few. It is a product of Rajwant Singh and his close associates.

    Honest disclosure: I have known Rajwant for more than a couple of decades, and we have been in periodic contact over the years. We have disagreed but also collaborated. In this project, I helped edit some of the voluminous material produced by the core group led by Gurwin Singh.

    Did we always agree on the product? Absolutely not. So why did I work with this team? Because the idea is bigger than any man.

    we are sikhs.jpg

    Sikhs seem like the new kids on the block. We are few and the world knows little of us. We are destined to remain a minority no matter where we live – in India or North America.

    Keep in mind that we have over a hundred years-old history in the good old U.S of A. Sikh workers had a hand in the construction of the Panama Canal in 1901-04. But today, most Americans can’t distinguish Sikhs from the Islamic enemies of the nation.

    All along, we have been struggling for an equal place at the table of this society, and the struggle goes on.

    This new project is designed to introduce Sikhi and Sikh-Americans to the larger society. We need to knock on the doors of social institutions, academia, portals of mass communication for a place in the public space. It is and will always remain an educational incentive.

    The project is expensive and this group raised more than a million dollars – an inspiring start to a beginning that shall have no end. This initiative remains costly despite the many volunteers (like me) who work gratis.

    Some of the loudest criticism, as expected, comes from left field. Let me recapitulate one dedicated sincere Sikh critic: “Why so much money on television and print time? All we need to do is to serve free food in every town to the millions. The money would be better spent on prayers and more gurduaras instead.”

    But don’t you think our community deserves and needs some larger perspectives and initiatives also? Then there were others who attacked the organizers for real or imagined character flaws, misguided ambition, possible financial sleight of hand, and so on, ad infinitum.

    Flaws are not rare in people and that’s what we are.

    Life makes many demands: What kind of a car should I drive – Rolls Royce, Lexus, Mercedes, or a used Kia? Similar questions on my house and where it should be. Food, shelter and clothing are basic needs, but what choices I make depends on where my life is at a given time. My resources and my sense of self are important and varied. There are needs and there are wants.

    Our community, like all the others around us, seems divided along fault lines that seem impossible to bridge. There are some who live more flashily than I approve or can afford. Many live like the proverbial church mouse. Our needs are many and varied; some will get the short end at any given time. Differences on how our budget should meet our varied needs may sometimes amuse us; other times we might kill because others choose a different path. Let our differences be the haven where personal innuendo has no place.

    I know that we don’t proselytize or work to convert others. But this is perhaps the first ever initiative by the Sikhs to market themselves by engaging world class talent which has worked for Obama, Bush, Ford motor company and Facebook. It’s time to actively educate others on who we are, what we are, and why we are the way we are. The times demand it and the technology is available to perhaps do exactly what Guru Nanak ventured to do for 37 years by traveling thousands of miles.

    Our community has the resources and the talent but, until now, not the marketing strategy. Explore these links for exactly what new doors are being opened:

    US Sikhs launch campaign to spread awareness about Sikhism

    Sikhs nationwide are opening their temples to dispel myths about turbans

    Sikh group launches $1.5 million TV campaign to educate Americans about Sikhism - INDIA New England News

    Our religion, our tradition and our common needs unite us into a vibrant community with a glorious history and common needs.

    Are we a house divided or a mansion with many rooms? Sikhs are a large and complex orchestra of many instruments. Let the music play on.
  2. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal Writer Historian SPNer

    Jan 3, 2010
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    An attempt of mass awareness of Sikhs is a great effort; but greater would be an image creation of great men as did the Israelis do. We must learn to correct our house first; stop infighting for Gurdwara Domination and have acceptable selection system; develop quality of character and moral values as guided through Sikh History and Sri Guru Granth Sahib; believe and live in Naam Daan Inshnan, be Chardi kala always and assist our brothers in need. Have better multilingual preachers to create a positive image of Sikhism who can convey effectively in the local language easily. The better we are the better will be our image. Gurmukh-Gursikh is the image named by the Gurus. This applies not only to American Sikhs but the Sikhs globally.
  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

    Jun 30, 2004
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    Inderjit ji,

    Guru Fateh.
    You are our bullhorn of Sikhi and thanks for the reminder with your bluntness laced with nitidity about the needs needed in our Sikhi cocoon. It speaks volumes of the work ahead of us. A wordsmith like you is stingy with his words but you are brave enough to inject the potent dose of the sting to wake us all up from our slumber due to our self-medicated Sikhi Ambien.

    I was not very keen on the Sikh Campaign either when Rajwant Singh called me to arrange a fundraiser here in Las Vegas but then I realised that the objective was much broader than my own parochial thought process. My narrow-minded thinking was more self-centered than Sikhi-centered as I do most of my Sikhi work outside the confinements of the 4 walls of our Gurdwaras.

    When I woke up from my self-induced snooze, I came to the realisation of the Me-ism pool I had been swimming in. With the help of Ik Ong Kaar's alarm clock, I made myself get up and the fundraiser became a great success where I invited my fellow members of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada to speak and as a result, they also pitched in financially.

    Yes, a lot more needs to be done. This work of Sikhi Awareness has to become our Nitnem but unlike our Nitnem of Gurbani, where we have become mere parrots, this one needs the maximum use of all the muscles we possess physically, mentally and spiritually.

    I would urge the cyber Sadh Sangat of the SPN to pitch in with their ideas so we can implement them the world over and record them here.

    This is a path we have to take outside our comfort zones to make the coming generations feel at home where ever they may live. Let's not remain strangers in the places where we toil with our blood, sweat, and tears to forge ahead.
    Let's make this house our home.

    Thanks again, Inderjit ji for this much-needed elbowing.


    Tejwant Singh
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
    Aman Singh likes this.

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