Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. AP Photo / Julio Cortez Gurbir Singh Grewal, New Jersey’s first Sikh Attorney General, was a despised target in 2018. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh identity and repeatedly called him a “turban man.” When asked about the discomfort of their comments, one of them said, “Listen, and if it offends you, don’t wear a turban, and maybe I remember your name. I will. ” Audiences, activists and Sikhs across the country acted immediately by contacting the station to express their concerns. The press immediately picked up the story and the radio host was shut down. Grewar is a training Sikh who maintains a turban and beard. Scholars and government officials estimate that the Sikh American population is about 500,000. Nevertheless, such an experience is not uncommon for many American Sikhs. As a traditional scholar and I myself practice Sikhs, I have been studying the harsh reality of what it means to be a Sikh in America today. I also experienced racial slurs from an early age. The bottom line is that there is little understanding of who the Sikhs are and what they believe in. So here is the introductory book. Founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh tradition, was born in 1469 in the Punjab region of South Asia. It is currently divided into Pakistan and northwestern India. The majority of the world’s Sikh population still lives in Punjab on the Indian side of the border. From an early age, Guru Nanak was disillusioned with the social inequality and religious hypocrisy he observed around him. He believed that the power of a single God created and existed in the whole world. In his belief, God was not far from the world, watching from a distance, but fully present in every aspect of creation. He therefore argued that all people were equally divine and deserved to be treated as such. To promote this vision of divine unity and social equality, Guru Nanak created institutional and religious practices. He established a community center and a place of worship, wrote his own scriptures, and institutionalized a system of leadership (guru) to carry on his vision. Therefore, the Sikh view rejects all social distinctions that create inequality, such as gender, race, religion, and caste, which are the main structures of South Asian social stratification. A community kitchen run by Sikhs to provide free meals regardless of caste, religion or religion at the Golden Temple in Punjab, India. shankar s. Serving the CC BY world is a natural expression of Sikh prayer and worship. Sikhs call this prayer service “Seva,” which is a core part of their practice. Sikh Identity In the Sikh tradition, a truly religious person is one who develops a spiritual self while serving the surrounding community, the saint soldiers. The ideals of the Holy Soldier apply to both women and men alike. In this spirit, Sikh women and men maintain articles of five beliefs, commonly known as the Five Ks. These are Kess (long, uncut hair), Kara (steel bracelet), Kanga (wooden comb), Kirpan (small sword), Kacchera (Soldier shorts). Although there is little historical evidence to explain why these particular articles were chosen, The Five Ks continue to provide the community with a collective identity, connecting individuals based on common beliefs and practices. As I understand, Sikhs cherish these articles of faith as gifts from their gurus. Turbans are an important part of the Sikh identity. Both women and men can wear turbans. Like the article of faith, Sikhs consider their turban as a gift given by their beloved gurus, and their meaning is very personal. In South Asian culture, wearing a turban usually showed one’s social status. Kings and rulers once wore turbans. The Sikh gurus partially adopted turbans to remind the Sikhs that all human beings are sovereign, royal, and ultimately equal. American Sikhs Today, there are about 30 million Sikhs around the world, making Sikhs the fifth largest major religion in the world. Seekday parade on Madison Avenue in New York. AP Photo / Craig Ruttle After the British colonists of India seized power in Punjab in 1849, most of the Sikh community was based, but the Sikhs went to Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Britain itself. It began to migrate to various areas controlled by the British Empire, including. .. Based on what they have available, Sikhs have played various roles in these communities, including military service, farming, and railroad construction. The first Sikh community entered the United States via the West Coast in the 1890s. As soon as they arrived, they began to experience discrimination. For example, the first racial riots targeting Sikhs occurred in Bellingham, Washington in 1907. An angry mob of white men gathered Sikh workers, beat them, and forced them to leave the town. Discrimination continued for many years. For example, when my dad moved from Punjab to the United States in the 1970s, racial slurs like “Ayatollah” and “Rughead” were thrown at him. It was a time of heightened tensions between the two countries as 52 American diplomats and citizens were captured in Iran. These slurs reflected a racist backlash against people who matched the Iranian stereotypes. When the United States participated in the Gulf War in the early 1990s, our family faced a similar racist backlash. Racist attacks have surged again since 9/11, especially as Americans are unaware of Sikh religion and confuse the popular stereotypes of what terrorists look like with the unique look of Sikhism. Compared to the last decade, the rate of violence against Sikhs has skyrocketed after President Donald Trump’s election. The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States, estimated in 2018 that American Sikhs were targeted for hate crimes about once a week. AP Photo / Michael Owen Baker As Sikhs, I can assure you that the Sikhs’ commitment to their beliefs, including love, service, and justice, will keep them resilient in the face of hatred. I will. For these reasons, it is rewarding for many Sikh Americans, such as Gurbir Grewal, to maintain their unique Sikh identity. Editor’s Note: This article was first published in 2018. This article has been republished by The Conversation, a non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more: As an Asian-Canadian scholar, you need to #StopAsianHate against all forms of racism Explainer: Who are the Sikhs in Afghanistan? We receive funding from companies or organizations that benefit from this article and do not disclose any relevant affiliations other than academic appointments.