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Who’re the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?

New Jersey Legal professional Normal Gurbir Grewal. AP Picture/Julio CortezNew Jersey’s first Sikh legal professional normal, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a goal of disparaging remarks in 2018. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh identification and repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.” When known as out on the offensiveness of their feedback, one among them said, “Hear, and if that offends you, then don’t put on the turban and possibly I’ll keep in mind your title.” Listeners, activists and Sikhs across the nation acted instantly by contacting the station to specific their considerations. Information retailers rapidly picked up the story and the radio hosts had been suspended. Grewal is a practising Sikh who maintains a turban and beard. Students and authorities officers estimate the Sikh American inhabitants to quantity round 500,000. Nonetheless for a lot of American Sikhs, such experiences will not be unusual. As a scholar of the custom and a practising Sikh myself, I’ve studied the tough realities of what it means to be a Sikh in America right now. I’ve additionally skilled racial slurs from a younger age. The underside line is there may be little understanding of who precisely the Sikhs are and what the consider. So right here’s a primer. Founding father of Sikhism To start out at first, the founding father of the Sikh custom, Guru Nanak was born in 1469 within the Punjab area of South Asia, which is presently cut up between Pakistan and the northwestern space of India. A majority of the worldwide Sikh inhabitants nonetheless resides in Punjab on the Indian facet of the border. From a younger age, Guru Nanak was disillusioned by the social inequities and non secular hypocrisies he noticed round him. He believed {that a} single divine power created all the world and resided inside it. In his perception, God was not separate from the world and watching from a distance, however absolutely current in each facet of creation. He subsequently asserted that each one persons are equally divine and should be handled as such. To advertise this imaginative and prescient of divine oneness and social equality, Guru Nanak created establishments and non secular practices. He established neighborhood facilities and locations of worship, wrote his personal scriptural compositions and institutionalized a system of management (gurus) that may carry ahead his imaginative and prescient. The Sikh view thus rejects all social distinctions that produce inequities, together with gender, race, faith and caste, the predominant construction for social hierarchy in South Asia. A neighborhood kitchen run by the Sikhs to supply free meals no matter caste, religion or faith, within the Golden Temple, in Punjab, India. shankar s., CC BY Serving the world is a pure expression of the Sikh prayer and worship. Sikhs name this prayerful service “seva,” and it’s a core a part of their follow. The Sikh identification Within the Sikh custom, a very spiritual particular person is one who cultivates the non secular self whereas additionally serving the communities round them – or a saint-soldier. The saint-soldier splendid applies to men and women alike. On this spirit, Sikh men and women keep 5 articles of religion, popularly often called the 5 Ks. These are: kes (lengthy, uncut hair), kara (metal bracelet), kanga (picket comb), kirpan (small sword) and kachera (soldier-shorts). Though little historic proof exists to clarify why these specific articles had been chosen, the 5 Ks proceed present the neighborhood with a collective identification, binding collectively people on the idea of a shared perception and follow. As I perceive, Sikhs cherish these articles of religion as presents from their gurus. Turbans are an essential a part of the Sikh identification. Each men and women could put on turbans. Just like the articles of religion, Sikhs regard their turbans as presents given by their beloved gurus, and its that means is deeply private. In South Asian tradition, sporting a turban usually indicated one’s social standing – kings and rulers as soon as wore turbans. The Sikh gurus adopted the turban, partly, to remind Sikhs that each one people are sovereign, royal and finally equal. Sikhs in America Right this moment, there are roughly 30 million Sikhs worldwide, making Sikhism the world’s fifth-largest main faith. Sikh Day parade on Madison Avenue, New York. AP Picture/Craig Ruttle After British colonizers in India seized energy of Punjab in 1849, the place a majority of the Sikh neighborhood was based mostly, Sikhs started migrating to varied areas managed by the British Empire, together with Southeast Asia, East Africa and the UK itself. Based mostly on what was out there to them, Sikhs performed varied roles in these communities, together with army service, agricultural work and railway building. The primary Sikh neighborhood entered the USA by way of the West Coast throughout the Eighteen Nineties. They started experiencing discrimination instantly upon their arrival. As an illustration, the primary race riot concentrating on Sikhs befell in Bellingham, Washington, in 1907. Indignant mobs of white males rounded up Sikh laborers, beat them up and compelled them to depart city. The discrimination continued through the years. As an illustration, when my father moved from Punjab to the USA within the Seventies, racial slurs like “Ayatollah” and “raghead” had been hurled at him. It was a time when 52 American diplomats and residents had been taken captive in Iran and rigidity between the 2 international locations was excessive. These slurs mirrored the racist backlash towards those that fitted the stereotypes of Iranians. Our household confronted an identical racist backlash when the U.S. engaged within the Gulf Conflict throughout the early Nineteen Nineties. The racist assaults spiked once more after 9/11, notably as a result of Individuals didn’t know in regards to the Sikh faith and conflated the distinctive Sikh look with well-liked stereotypes of what terrorists appear like. Compared to the previous decade, the charges of violence towards Sikhs have surged after the election of President Donald Trump. The Sikh Coalition, the biggest Sikh civil rights group within the U.S., estimated in 2018 that Individuals Sikhs had been being focused in hate crimes about as soon as per week. AP Picture/Michael Owen Baker As a practising Sikh, I can affirm that the Sikh dedication to the tenets of their religion, together with love, service and justice, retains them resilient within the face of hate. For these motive, for a lot of Sikh Individuals, like Gurbir Grewal, it’s rewarding to keep up their distinctive Sikh identification. Editor’s Notice: This text was initially printed in 2018.This text is republished from The Dialog, a nonprofit information web site devoted to sharing concepts from educational specialists. Learn extra:As Asian Canadian students, we should #StopAsianHate by combating all types of racismExplainer: who’re the Afghan Sikhs?UK function in 1984 temple raid will have an effect on British Sikh identification Simran Jeet Singh doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.

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