I would like to know your opinion on this please - "what are most pressing issues/ challenges facing sikh youth in western countries today?". I already have my opinion on this topic but would like to know how others feel on this.
Here is how I frame the situation of any minority: do they have security, unrestricted opportunity, and freedom of identity.
In the West, or in any affluent liberal society matters get muddied. There is arguably more security and opportunity for a Sikh young lady in (say) Canada, than in Jalandhar. Also, she has freedom in Canada to express her Sikh identity.
But what is the nature of that freedom? For a majority of Sikh (or Hindu, Muslim, Jewish) youth, the tendency is to meld in with the majority, and lose their practices and attire. Many intermarry, some even convert. Vegetarianism is lost for Hindus, sabbath for Jews, namaz for Muslims. Sikh youth cut their hair. All of this is to fight inadvertent isolation if you do not meld in.
However, a small minority becomes the more “kattar” than even their parents. Many radicalized Muslims get radicalized in the West. The quotidian realities of the third world “street life” keep people grounded. There is a certain pragmatic humbleness in folk from the middle class in the developing world, and a certain self-righteous bigotry afforded by affluence. Even in Pakistan, etc., the radicalization is afforded by the money pumped in by the Saudis.
Sikh youth face these same realities. The solution is not government, nor religion. The solution is stronger communities and more supportive families. Less social media, and more intergenerational and social engagement. Think of nani ki kahani and the patang festival. Think of the joy of a cool rain on a hot summer day, and the absence of TVs and media from our lives.
We can’t fight or change reality. We can, however, help our kids have a more humane, less programmed and materialistic life.