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General Why Does Caste Still Persist With Sikhs?

Harkiran Kaur

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My question arises because I have been talking to a Sikh guy who I really like. I found out his last name is a Ramgharia name, and locally I have been going to Gurdwara with mostly Sikhs who are Jatt background... But aren't Sikhs supposed to shun caste completely? Why does it still persist in India (and even among Sikhs who are Outside India)?

If things were to work out between myself and this man (who seems like a very sweet and smart guy - he's an architect) would the Sikhs here locally who are mostly Jatt accept him fully? Is he considered to be from a low caste as Ramgharia?

I don't really know how this works out, because I'm a white Sikh... and thought caste was supposed to be null between Sikhs? So I am a bit confused that the caste idea is even brought up at all!

I can't even fathom caste difference, and I wouldn't care - no matter what I think he a genuine and kind person who I will stick by.
 
Jun 15, 2012
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You should go ahead alot of Sikhs are just so attached to this foolish system they just dont know anything else since its been so reinforced in their lives they see it as the truth.
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Thanks... I don't plan on letting any of that actually affect who I associate with since I see everyone as equal anyway... just as Sikhi teaches. The conversation only came up this last Sunday because I asked someone why there were several styles of turbans there... I actually thought it was just personal preference how someone tied their turban, but it turns out you can tell where someone is from by the way they tie their turban. And that's how I found out that majority of people at the local Gurdwara are Jatt - but there are others who tie it differently there as well (prompting me to ask about it).
 

Harry Haller

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I do belong to a caste, and it causes me nothing but problems. My caste is the Chamczaxcmoiuwoo caste, and yes, I am an unpronouncable. It means I cannot get a job or get married or anything. I cannot even pronounce my own name, it is a stigma I have suffered all my life.

One day I hope to travel to Germany, where there is a centre for people like me, they teach us basic pronunciation, how to say 'dog' or 'cat', yeah it starts off slowly, and then maybe one day, I might actually be able to pronounce my name.

:beg:
 

Luckysingh

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Thanks... I don't plan on letting any of that actually affect who I associate with since I see everyone as equal anyway... just as Sikhi teaches. The conversation only came up this last Sunday because I asked someone why there were several styles of turbans there... I actually thought it was just personal preference how someone tied their turban, but it turns out you can tell where someone is from by the way they tie their turban. And that's how I found out that majority of people at the local Gurdwara are Jatt - but there are others who tie it differently there as well (prompting me to ask about it).
That is quite true to an extent. You see the style of turbans also range from the geographical areas as well.
We generally find that the ramgharias have a style that was very popular in Africa in places like Kenya. This compact well starched style is popular among them and their generations in the west.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that you can tell the cast from a turban style, but you can certainly tell the ramgharia ones. Although nowadays some younger boys prefer this compact and starched style so they adopt it anyway. Then you find that the cast is no longer a dividing barrier as another person of different origin will have adopted it!!

Like others have said, it is a sad cutural issue that has been carried over to the west and it is not about sikhism. However, sadly, we do find that certain castes still like to remain away from others and they therefore have their own gurdwaras like the ramgharia...etc...- This is something that we can see the future generations don't agree with.

I find the best way is to stay away from such gurdwaras if you can. I know that doesn't sound very nice or like any good advice but a lot of young ones including myself avoid these gurdwaras and attend the many others that are completely neutral and have no caste or area attachment.
This way the people that run these gurdwaras will eventually realise that they don't get enough support because of this status and will hopefully make amends.

In your situation I would take no notice of this status. You are free to go wherever you please and that should not cause any objections from anyone.
In practice and reality I have never heard of any body talk about a non-ramgharia attending a ragmgharia gurdwara. It just doesn't happen, there may be some little small talk among one or two but that's about it. This little small talk gossip occurs between the same one or two not just about caste but anything from the car you drive to the clothes you wear, it's just their sad nature to yap about whatever they can find!!!

So, go ahead feel free to talkand mix with whoever you please!!
 

Luckysingh

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I do belong to a caste, and it causes me nothing but problems. My caste is the Chamczaxcmoiuwoo caste, and yes, I am an unpronouncable. It means I cannot get a job or get married or anything. I cannot even pronounce my own name, it is a stigma I have suffered all my life.

One day I hope to travel to Germany, where there is a centre for people like me, they teach us basic pronunciation, how to say 'dog' or 'cat', yeah it starts off slowly, and then maybe one day, I might actually be able to pronounce my name.

:beg:
At least you know your caste!!
I have the problem that I thought I belonged to the stuntman caste, until I went to Hollywood and got rejected!!!
Now, I don't know what to do as I feel I don't belong anywhere!!!
 

Ishna

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May 9, 2006
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I had no idea different styles had any meaning other than personal taste. Next you're gonna tell me the colours mean something too! (except navy blue and saffron, I figured that one out ;) )

Can someone provide a picture of a Ramgharia-style turban please?

Thanks
 

Harkiran Kaur

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I had no idea different styles had any meaning other than personal taste. Next you're gonna tell me the colours mean something too! (except navy blue and saffron, I figured that one out ;) )

Can someone provide a picture of a Ramgharia-style turban please?

Thanks
I believe the one in this vid is that style... though someone pls correct me if I am wrong... It's the one with the point at the top front.

How To Tie A Turban - YouTube
 
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Kanwaljit.Singh

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Turban is to cover out Kesh. And with the firmness we tie our turban, that firmness we show in our devotion to Sikhi. Each turn of turban on our head comes with Simran. Calling a turban Ramgariah style is an insult. It is like making a house of cards and then blowing them away :D
 

Luckysingh

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I believe the one in this vid is that style... though someone pls correct me if I am wrong... It's the one with the point at the top front.
As far as I know that is what they refer to by the label they give it.

Kanwaljit ji is right to say that we shouldn't differentiate between turbans and label them as such. But, the sad fact is that these are the references that are used and there is nothing wrong with being aware of what these people that label them, actually refer to.

There are appropriate threads on turban and it's significance and we should avoid going into that same discussion on here.
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

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Yes but a timely reminder helps :D that all is given by and belongs to Guru. Before we think of any label to our Turban, Kirpan, Kara etc. we should think of Guru. That is the way of reaching Ik Surt (One Understanding!?).
 

Harry Haller

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Yes but a timely reminder helps :D that all is given by and belongs to Guru. Before we think of any label to our Turban, Kirpan, Kara etc. we should think of Guru. That is the way of reaching Ik Surt (One Understanding!?).
Its not often I disagree with you, but I do here Kanwaljitji.

Everything is given by the Guru, our food, the air we breathe, the argument you are running is, in my view, serving only to put down those that choose to individualise the K's. And why should they not? I have seen a Sikh with a turban so high, I swear there were little mountain climbers clinging to its north face. His Kara was a huge affair, long big beard, I am just glad I could not see his Khacha!

The road your argument is going down creates barriers, walls, who is to say whose turban is tied correctly, whose Khacha confirms, whose kara is too big, these seem like petty divisive arguments, next you will be advocating a single style or colour, so that the more religious can patrol the streets looking for those that do not confirm, maybe we could ask the Taliban for advice?
 

Rory

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Jul 2, 2012
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Hearing about things like this really makes me sad. When I first starting reading about Sikhi it seemed like a dream come true, a wonderful system of love, equality and spiritual awareness without the frills. I am sort of disappointed in a way because the impression I got from everything I read about Sikhism is that it was "the short path" to awareness and obedience to God.

I know it's not completely fair to judge a book by it's cover, and it's not really fair for me to judge Sikhi by Sikhs, but really how much do the followers say about their belief? I've started to get the impression that the majority of Sikhs are very confused about their religion and beliefs, maybe even preaching one thing while they know another is true. I'm not saying Sikhi is not "the short path", because it seems to me that if someone does stick rigidly to the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib that they can actually be the kind of person I thought all Sikhs were, but I still wish I had realized sooner that Sikhs generally are more concerned about the implications of their culture than they are about what the Gurus actually taught.

I thought that the whole point of dastaar was to show that everyone was equal? That Guru Nanak-ji initiated wearing turbans because at the time, only rich men, kings and emperors wore turbans; Guru Nanak-ji encouraging all his Sikhs to wear turbans and diminish the status of "turban-wearers" was to imply that no matter how grandiose one looked on the outside, we were all still the same? How can this sentiment be lost so easily upon people? Is it that most Sikhs do not even think about what they are wearing on their head? Guru Nanak taught that there is no use in a false ritual, why wear dastaar without understanding it? Sikhs have pictures in their houses and in Gurudwara of their beloved Guru Nanak-ji, why don't they actually give a listen to what he taught for a change?

Sorry if it sounds like I am attacking anyone, I'm just quite frustrated and let-down by these kinds of "cultural" trends holding back teachings which, if applied properly, could really make the world a better place. It's such a waste.
 

Harvir007

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Aug 22, 2010
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It's rather humorous to see how the caste system engulfs the ego of some Sikhs. It's somewhat ironic as Sikhi preaches against ego and calls it a vice. The caste system is just as futile as giving humans a label as to what race they are. Attempts may be made to eradicate this nonsense, however I believe it is an ever-ending struggle as ego seems to take precedence over the word of bani in most cases. Not all however! It's just a shame that not many people stand up to the utter mockery this caste system presents in the face of the teachings of Guru Nanak. When I say stand up, I mean people having inter-caste marriages and also genuine intellectuals that will vocalise their views on this most trivial of matters.
 
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Harkiran Kaur

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Jul 21, 2012
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It's rather humorous to see how the caste system engulfs the ego of some Sikhs. It's somewhat ironic as Sikhi preaches against ego and calls it a vice. The caste system is just as futile as giving humans a label as to what race they are. Attempts may be made to eradicate this nonsense, however I believe it is an ever-ending struggle as ego seems to take precedence over the word of bani in most cases. Not all however! It's just a shame that not many people stand up to the utter mockery this caste system presents in the face of the teachings of Guru Nanak. When I say stand up, I mean people having inter-caste marriages and also genuine intellectuals that will vocalise their views on this most trivial of matters.
Personally having grown up in western society, I have no concept of caste at all... and to me, everyone is equal. I don't even notice someone's ethnicity (I say ethnicity vs race because there is only ONE race: HUMAN) I am friends with everyone, and care about everyone. Case in point, I am as pasty white as anyone could be, and I am seriously meeting a dark skinned Punjabi Sikh guy soon in person (even though we are long distance) with intentions to see if we are compatible... to me he has an amazing personality and that's all that matters. The more I talk to him the more I want to know him... I could care less what background he came from. So I can't even begin to grasp the concept of caste... it's all very weird to me!
 

Randip Singh

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May 25, 2005
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My question arises because I have been talking to a Sikh guy who I really like. I found out his last name is a Ramgharia name, and locally I have been going to Gurdwara with mostly Sikhs who are Jatt background... But aren't Sikhs supposed to shun caste completely? Why does it still persist in India (and even among Sikhs who are Outside India)?

If things were to work out between myself and this man (who seems like a very sweet and smart guy - he's an architect) would the Sikhs here locally who are mostly Jatt accept him fully? Is he considered to be from a low caste as Ramgharia?

I don't really know how this works out, because I'm a white Sikh... and thought caste was supposed to be null between Sikhs? So I am a bit confused that the caste idea is even brought up at all!

I can't even fathom caste difference, and I wouldn't care - no matter what I think he a genuine and kind person who I will stick by.
In terms of the caste system per se,

There are 5 castes:

Brahmin - Priests

Kshatriya - Warrior

Vaishya - Merchants, Farmers, Artisans

Sudra - Some Farmers and Artisans, Workers,

Untouchables

Ramgarhias and Jatts fit into probably the Vaishnav groups if they were Hindu's. Each group thinks they are higher than the other. Jatts think they are higher because they are landowners. Ramgarhia's think they are higher because they are skilled and use their brains.

The reality is caste should not be an issue amongst Sikhs. I myself have witnessed 8 marriages between Ramgarhia's and Jatts in the last few years, and no one gives a hoot. They are just glad a Sikh married a Sikh!! :noticekudi:
 

Randip Singh

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Thanks... I don't plan on letting any of that actually affect who I associate with since I see everyone as equal anyway... just as Sikhi teaches. The conversation only came up this last Sunday because I asked someone why there were several styles of turbans there... I actually thought it was just personal preference how someone tied their turban, but it turns out you can tell where someone is from by the way they tie their turban. And that's how I found out that majority of people at the local Gurdwara are Jatt - but there are others who tie it differently there as well (prompting me to ask about it).

Not true!

Many Jatts I know assume that apointed turban = Ramgarhia, however meet any Ramgarhia's from India and they tie the Patiala style associated with Sikhs.

Sikhs from East Africa tie the pointed pugh style. Most East African Sikhs were Ramgharia hence the pointed style, but I know many Jatt Sikhs from East Africa who tie the pointed pugh as well.
 

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