Articles by Gurmukh Singh OBE (UK)
Today, Sikhs may not be a geographical nation but they have national characteristics and aspirations. In the Mandla case, the House of Lords afforded protection to Sikhs under the Race Relations law as an ethnic group; the same sort of protection afforded to other ethnic groups and nationalities.
Today, there is fear and desperation in their empty eyes. They have no livelihood and no work; and their growing children receive no education. Their daughters do not have much hope of finding suitable matches; and they are not certain where the next meal would come from.
However, while Sikh martyrs are remembered in gurdwaras, there have been few initiatives which tell the world about them. One such outstanding initiative is the annual “Portraits of Courage” lecture hosted by Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail (ASHT) in association with the Imperial War Museum.
The decision making tradition of Sarbat Khalsa was evolved during the first half of the 18th Century. It is likely to be revived and further developed through seminars like those arranged by the Sikh Research Institute.
The question is, why insist on a religious wedding when a couple cannot agree on one religio-cultural path in married life. In such unions, religion takes low priority or has no place at all. Why not accept that reality from the outset?
I thought it was important to write "home" to my 700,000 fellow Sikh British about a remote Australian Sikh community ensuring "recognition" of Sikh identity at national celebrations.
Flanked by a "taoos" playing maestro on one side, and a Guiness record holder, tabla player, on the other, it was an unlikely setting at Jalandhar in central Punjab, for world renowned Dya Singh of Australia. For the first time, he was finding himself at a Kirtan smagam, without his motley group of musicians playing a range of East-West musical instrumental blends.
“These hymns and chants from Guru Nanak tradition are loved and cherished by millions of Sikhs and Guru Nanak followers around the globe.....This music has the power to promote deep relaxation, meditation contemplation and devotion, regardless of religion and cultural back ground.”
There is a mistaken belief amongst Gurbani Keertan purists sometimes that Indian and Sikh classical raags have remained static over the centuries. Gurbani singers like Sikh “world music” genre pioneer, Dya Singh of Australia, are at the receiving end of criticism because they do not always stick to the beaten track of traditional Gurbani Keertan sung to prescribed raag bases.
Quite significantly, this “modern” gurdwara is located at a cross roads junction which reminds one of where Sikhi tradition stands today! It is a typical example of the trend in the Sikh diaspora to seek their own local solutions to the current and future spiritual and socio-cultural needs.