To be respected is to obtain mastery of the past, to be feared is to make ones domain of the future. To be both however, is to take command of the crossroads that between both past and future, the present.
Religion is as much a symptom of injustice as a cause of it. Why else would people place faith in an unseen being that will help them? Perhaps because they cannot place faith in their fellow man to help them, to believe in a divine justice rather than one of human origin. Rather ironic that the very thing religion thrives on, is the very thing it seeks to eliminate. Religion is as much a reminder of the failure of a society as it is of its virtues.
It seems to many that Sikhs in politics is a brand new development a product of the 21st century, with our recent migration to the west. I frankly disagree with that assessment. We are Sikhs, to the word Sikh means to learn, and only the way to learn is to question, to question those in power and their beliefs is very a political act. Sikhism from its very foundation with Guru Nanak in questioned the logic of the caste system when in his eyes all humans were the same, the idea that women are equal and that money should be earned honestly or not at all, ideas radical then and in many ways still are now. These challenges to power formalized after the execution of the Fifth Guru Arjan, his son Guru Hargobind set aside the seli topi (caps of holy men) asked for a sword i and the kalgi of a king instead. He was given one but it was put on the wrong side, so he asked for another as well. Those two swords would represent Miri and Piri, the need to be powerful in the spiritual world so as to know injustice, and the physical world so as to have the means to actively oppose it. With that Sikhism challenged the might of the Mughal empire and opposed the religious intolerance of it. Time and time again our faith challenged those that sought to oppress whether they were the Afghan kings or the British empire. To say being political is in conflict with our beliefs would ignore that long history of active opposition to injustice and oppression. No, to be political is a consequence of who we are, where we come from and what we believe.
Throughout human history there is there was an element of untouchability that we applied to our fellow human beings, the belief that certain people were beneath others the fact their mere touch would be polluting. Such a system existed in India through caste, in japan as Burakumin, and often was culturally socially and religiously enforced. While this system was wrong, that is not to say untouchables do not exist. The true untouchable is not born as such, nor made to be. The true untouchable pollutes not with his body but with his mind his surroundings, he who chooses to divide our beautiful humanity, defiles the ideologies of unity to ones of division. The true untouchable is a product of choice, for he who is the one who chooses to hate.
We all know those wandering souls, those strange people that seeming appear from nowhere at the door step of our existence. They enter into our lives as a guest would ones home, they stay for a time yet unselfishly they do not a make a home of it yet care for it all the same. Like all guests they too must leave, going as they came without any expectation. Yet what remains is the impression they make on you, how they change you.Even in their taking leave they manage to give. It is only then their beauty is truly understood.
Most of humanities, our species history was a struggle was against the climate, simply trying to survive the elements, to carve our societies, to tame this this world and make it ours. Yet now the greatest challenge of our time, will be the struggle to save the very same climate that killed our ancestors. Tragically ironic isn’t it?
How the faithful forget themselves, what right do they have to possess the blindfold of ignorance in this life? Bowing to his holy books, he surrender his being to the knowledge within the calligraphy, those same eyes finding truth among scratches upon a page, yet not seeing the same within the humanity that surrounds him?
Life it seems, at least in my understanding is not too different from the timeouts from my youth. Funny how the passing of those minutes in that corner felt like years, yet life is also measured in years. It is not something that is particularly enjoyed, just endured for the time being, like timeouts eventually it to shall come to pass.
The religious tomes speak of a god creating man in his own image. I cannot speak of the veracity of that for its matter of faith and not facts. However what I do know is that man and his kind has and continues to, shape this world in his own reflecting both the great cruelties and compassion that resides within him.
Marx once spoke that religion is the opium of the masses, in that assessment, I would not disagree with him, A fakir and an addict do not differ much in existence or appearance. Like any addict worth his salt, must have dabbled in various drugs, so to must the fakir in dabble in various beliefs before finding his form of ecstasy.