I'm Lonely at the Gurdwara

This is dedicated towards non-Punjabi Sikhs who have left the fold.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa. Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

This poem is based on the real life experiences of SEVERAL non-Punjabi Sikhs that I have interacted with and is dedicated towards them and those who have left the fold. I also acknowledge that there will be a few non-Punjabi Sikhs with whom this poem will not resonate with at all. Even though I am happy that you’ve not experienced this, please do not make this about yourself and instead be empathetic towards your brothers and sisters who have. That being said, I have experienced both welcoming and shunning within the Sikh community and know how both an impact a Sikh’s journey. 

I would also like to say that I know some people do not want to acknowledge that there are issues within the Sikh community. But If we are to tear down the veil of duality which says that “we are separate”, we must acknowledge that our neighbors suffering is our suffering and address it. 

And finally, on our website (Embracing Sikhism), we have a page dedicated towards those Gurdwaras who showcase a spirit of welcoming. 

Gurdwaras to Visit

If you feel that a Gurdwara should be added, please email me ([email protected]) or message me on Twitter (@ajcurly137). Join us in our seva of making the Gurdwara truly welcoming to all. 

Title: I’m Lonely at the Gurdwara 

By: Gurpreet Kaur

This isn’t what I expected 

This is not what the videos online projected

“Everyone is welcomed at the Gurdwara” they proudly say

No matter you’re skin color or how you pray 

But this is not what your actions portray 

All I’ve been getting is silence, giggles, or stares all day

This makes me miss the religion of my youth

Yes, this is most definitely the truth 

Where people shook hands, talked, and supported each other 

Where some were like sisters and where some I called “brother”

They say “Only go for your Guru, the Guru Granth!”

But last time I checked, isn’t the Guru also the Khalsa Panth? 

Maybe I don’t belong here, why should I stay?

I tried to do seva but then was pushed out the way

I should have known when I had called

And the secretary said, “There’s no point of coming here at all.” 

“No one speaks English here” she hurriedly tells me 

But knew that this just could not be

Sitting here listening, eating silently in the Langar Hall

It was apparent that that was a lie and I think it’s time for me to go awol

“We don’t wear that here”, one Aunty voices  

“It might not be Punjabi” (I think to myself) but I made modest clothing choices!”

How dare you have turned my Guru’s house into a cultural center! 

Designed for people solely of your ethnic group to enjoy and enter 

I’m here to learn while you’re here to gossip 

Am I coming back? Well, that is most definitely a toss up 

And for those who are reading this, you’re part of the problem 

You might agree with me, but have done anything to solve ‘em?! 

“It’s the Gurdwara committee!” you say like they control YOUR actions

You don’t need their permission to let compassion be your reaction

What I want is change, Sikhs to be part of the solution

To start looking outside of ourselves, a Gurdwara revolution! 

But maybe.....my words our falling on deaf ears

Do you not realize my longing for Sangat? My sorrow can you not hear?! 

Gurbani says constantly to join the Company of Holy

And since it’s my Guru’s command, I try to follow it wholly 

But until then..I’m just lonely 

I’m at the Gurdwara and I am lonely

Gurpreet Kaur

“You do not have to have the same beliefs as someone in order to empathize with and assist them.”

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