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Who’re the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?

New Jersey Lawyer Common Gurbir Grewal. AP Photograph/Julio CortezNew Jersey’s first Sikh lawyer basic, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a goal of disparaging remarks in 2018. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh id and repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.” When known as out on the offensiveness of their feedback, one in all them acknowledged, “Pay attention, and if that offends you, then don’t put on the turban and perhaps I’ll bear in mind your identify.” Listeners, activists and Sikhs across the nation acted instantly by contacting the station to specific their issues. Information shops 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. However for a lot of American Sikhs, such experiences usually are not unusual. As a scholar of the custom and a practising Sikh myself, I’ve studied the cruel realities of what it means to be a Sikh in America in the present day. 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 imagine. So right here’s a primer. Founding father of Sikhism To begin at first, the founding father of the Sikh custom, Guru Nanak was born in 1469 within the Punjab area of South Asia, which is at the moment cut up between Pakistan and the northwestern space of India. A majority of the worldwide Sikh inhabitants nonetheless resides in Punjab on the Indian aspect 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 drive created your entire 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 side of creation. He subsequently asserted that each one individuals 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 will 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 offer free meals regardless of 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 apply. The Sikh id Within the Sikh custom, a very non secular individual is one who cultivates the non secular self whereas additionally serving the communities round them – or a saint-soldier. The saint-soldier supreme applies to men and women alike. On this spirit, Sikh men and women keep 5 articles of religion, popularly referred to as the 5 Ks. These are: kes (lengthy, uncut hair), kara (metal bracelet), kanga (wood 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 id, binding collectively people on the idea of a shared perception and apply. As I perceive, Sikhs cherish these articles of religion as items from their gurus. Turbans are an essential a part of the Sikh id. Each men and women could put on turbans. Just like the articles of religion, Sikhs regard their turbans as items given by their beloved gurus, and its that means is deeply private. In South Asian tradition, carrying a turban usually indicated one’s social standing – kings and rulers as soon as wore turbans. The Sikh gurus adopted the turban, partially, to remind Sikhs that each one people are sovereign, royal and finally equal. Sikhs in America Right now, 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 Photograph/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. Primarily based on what was obtainable to them, Sikhs performed numerous roles in these communities, together with army service, agricultural work and railway development. The primary Sikh neighborhood entered america through the West Coast through the Eighteen Nineties. They started experiencing discrimination instantly upon their arrival. As an illustration, the primary race riot focusing on Sikhs happened in Bellingham, Washington, in 1907. Indignant mobs of white males rounded up Sikh laborers, beat them up and compelled them to go away city. The discrimination continued through the years. As an illustration, when my father moved from Punjab to america within the Nineteen 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 pressure between the 2 nations was excessive. These slurs mirrored the racist backlash in opposition to those that fitted the stereotypes of Iranians. Our household confronted an identical racist backlash when the U.S. engaged within the Gulf Warfare through the early Nineties. The racist assaults spiked once more after 9/11, significantly as a result of People didn’t know in regards to the Sikh faith and conflated the distinctive Sikh look with common stereotypes of what terrorists appear to be. Compared to the previous decade, the charges of violence in opposition to Sikhs have surged after the election of President Donald Trump. The Sikh Coalition, the most important Sikh civil rights group within the U.S., estimated in 2018 that People Sikhs had been being focused in hate crimes about as soon as per week. AP Photograph/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 cause, for a lot of Sikh People, like Gurbir Grewal, it’s rewarding to keep up their distinctive Sikh id. Editor’s Word: 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 consultants. Learn extra:As Asian Canadian students, we should #StopAsianHate by preventing all types of racismExplainer: who’re the Afghan Sikhs?UK function in 1984 temple raid will have an effect on British Sikh id Simran Jeet Singh doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.

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