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.
What right the Sikh have to live this life in willful ignorance? He who bows to a book, calls his almighty the teacher and himself the student, to which his relationship is one based upon his own enlightenment and not his own enslavement.
Something thats been on my mind recently and its been bothering me, is the amount of people that talk shit about Brampton. Yeah its not perfect, but is home. The 19 year old me, being young and rebellious also hated it, fuck this place, was my attitude towards Brampton.. So I left for another city. I went to study criminology and then human rights, but what I feel in the 5 years there, the most important thing learned was what separates a place from a home. A place is defined by location, buildings, tangible things that can be measured. A home however is not defined by those things, rather its by feelings and memories, things that cannot be measured, yet real all the same. To me in the end, Brantford became merely a place, Brampton was Home. And it how it could not be? First friends, first love, first jobs, first achievements all happened here, from here. Its not just me, but for a lot of people who grew up up in this city. It is home. This city has a lot of newcomers, filled with hopes and dreams. For some that is a problem, to hell with them. For the immigrants too Brampton, it too will become home, filled with memories and feelings not to unlike us. Many generations from now when places like Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur or Amritsar have long since faded from memory, when people ask our descendents where there their families are from, perhaps they will say Brampton. For them too it was a home. I mean if anyone talks shit about Brampton being in it, its because they see it as a place, not a home.
Normally I have a pretty liberal attitude with how I believe people should worship and stuff, but there is something that has been bothering me of late. What I don’t like these days is the practice of bringing of catering to the Gurudwara or doing special arrangements. I find the practice abhorrent and in congruent with the principles of our faith. Sure it is your big day and everyone wants it to be perfect, but that doesn’t trump the principles of equality we have espoused through out the ages. It is guru ka langar not village of india langar or brar’s langar. It is supposed to be simple food that its very core, an act of bring people of different backgrounds to sit on the floor together as equals, It was Guru Amar Das that made the great Mughal King Abkar sit, before granting him an audience, regarding king and beggar alike. So who are we to challenge that institution when the emperor of India could not. Yeah in the age of social media, with Facebook, Instagram etc. In Brampton especially among Punjabis its become a dumb hedonistic and materialistic competition to one up each other with extravagant weddings all for likes, go ahead do it at the engagement, do it at the reception. But that attitude of one man upmanship has no place in the Gurudwara, and that should be respected.