OP/ED: Recent Spate of Disruptions at Inter-Faith Sikh Weddings – UK

Image: rgxsingh
Image: rgxsingh

UK—A lot of press coverage has recently taken place, sensationalizing the somewhat brutish actions of a few over-zealous Sikh youth at recent inter-faith weddings in the UK. 

A slightly more in-depth reflection on the happenings is required. In part, to help steer the discussion towards a more balanced and reasoned conclusion than is currently being sent out. But also to counter the band-wagon of knee-jerk responses from some of the Sikh and non-Sikh opinions that keep surfacing.

The hope is that this might also begin to stem the finger pointing attitude from both sides of the opinion table which seem to be creating an ever increasing entrenchment of views, often based upon overly emotional perspectives. A natural result of which, is another step towards a less embracing family. The opposite direction to the “one world – one family” ethos that is Sikhi (Sikhism).

First of all, it’s prudent to point out that all quarters of the Sikh nation unequivocally agree on the Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM) guidance of Sikhs marrying Sikhs only, when conducting the ceremony of Anand (Anand Karaj). However, does this mean a Sikh can’t marry a white, black or any other race denomination? THEY MOST CERTAINLY CAN! 

Sikhi is a path for all. It’s teachings are not for Sikhs per se, but for all mankind. So a Sikh can unquestionably be of any race, color, faith, or background.

Therein, however, lies the caveat. The person(s) in question, regardless background or race, will be a professed follower of the Guru’s path. In other words, a self-confessed student (Sikh).

Akal Takht SealThe reason for this is the same as why you wouldn’t find a Muslim taking an oath on the Bible, or a Hindu taking an oath on the Tora. The Anand Karaj ceremony is a publicly declared, binding contract (oath), based on the core spiritual instructions (Lava[n]) being recited at the time.

For a person to espouse the instructions before him or her, they would naturally have to had accept the path of Sikhi in the first instance. If not, the whole occasion is reduced to a meaningless ritual. The very thing that the foundations of Sikhi breaks us away from. Namely, empty rituals and meaningless practices. 

A Sikh could very well marry someone of a differing faith, without any interference but, not under the canopy of the Anand Karaj due to the reasons highlighted.

Another reason for our wise forefathers including this condition within the code of conduct was due to the far-sighted wisdom of recognizing the conflict of a couple treading differing spiritual paths under one roof. A life-partner in Sikhi is intended to be a companion in life-long progression towards enlightenment. This endeavor is rendered moot with partners who are on differing paths, let alone differing spiritual planes.

Common sense, you might say. Yet surprisingly (or unsurprisingly – you decide), members of majority of the UK Gurdwara committees don’t appear to be apprised of the basics highlighted above.

akalTakhat-1Given the above explanation, I strongly feel that protesting and forceful stopping of a ceremony is at contrast to the ways that Guru Jee and his wise ways of imparting knowledge and encouraging change. Education, love, understanding and patience are virtues we seem to be lacking these days. The very virtues that come to flower within ourselves when we absorb Gurbani’s teachings and immerse ourselves in His meditation. The lack of these traits within us is a clear reflection of our current state or progression on this great uplifting path.

The Sikh Council UK have now issued an advisory statement to Gurdwaras of the UK to help create a uniformed approach to the matter. As well as advising protesters to exercise restraint whilst a transition period ensues.

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Comments

  1. Madam sarjit kaur g ajehe loka to dor raho ehna nal bahas de lor nahe eh lok sirf apne matlab de gal he pad de ne,te os nu tor maro k apne pakh vich pase karde ne.es de piche ehna da koi apna matlab hunda hai ehna da sikh virodhi chehra ese gal to he nanga hunda hai.eh lok sirf upre bhasan den joge ne k guru ghar de darwaje chare pase khule ne,jado k es da matlab sab dharma de laye barabar ne na k apne atmahatia karan laye te ik ik kar ke apna sab kuj khatam kar len laye.ke eh madam eh dase ge k yahode apne dharam ch kyo marage karwaunde ne jado k esai v ose jisu de rop nu mande ne?eh sade dharam nu sidantak chitavni hai.te es da hal sirf sade ithas te guru granth vich hai.hun duje hisab nal vekhia jave ta sikh male de abade female de mukable jada hai ajehe sathite na nibran laye ik te daj pure tara band hona chida hai te fir he apne kuj chote soch vale lok ehna nu marno hatan ge,nahe ta lok larke nu boj he samjde rahan ge te duje gal ehna de samaj vich safty de oh ta je bachia nu guru granth sahib g de lar la deo te apna ithas das deo ta oh dolan ge nahe.chahe ajehe kye lok kyo na pada ho jan jo sidant nu sat maran vale hon.abadi da gap pura karan laye eda te ho he sakda hai te chot v hai k jo parwar besak sikh nahe par guru ret pure karde ne guru ghara ch ohna to v larke kai sakde ha.yad rakho eh lok sade sidant te sat mar k sanu khatam karna chunde ne kyo k ehna nu pata hai k jung nal khatam nahe hoye.

  2. If the Gurdwara is open to anyone and our Gurus do not look at caste, race and color why are the Granthi’s and appointed officials at the Gurdwaras not practicing what is being preached our to the congregation every Sunday? Does it say in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji that a person wanting to marry at the Gurdwara MUST be a Sikh? I believe its left to the person intrepretation.

  3. Madam Anna pal Kaur ji, firstly, Singh is last name for male only.
    secondly, regardless how successful your mix marriage, life, and family are, without taking Khandey Batey Ki Pahul, you will be assigned to cycle of birth and death again, Hukam of Guru Gobind Singh Jio, and is TRUE order to ALL creation, by our Great Guru_/\_ji

    • Dear Madam Sarjit Kaur, I know Singh is for Male and Kaur is for female! But what do you thing why a Gurdwara has 4 entries? It is open to all sides and for everybody. Means the blessings will get the person who seeks it from the Guru jis! Regarding birth and death: It is written in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib: If at the moment of death you will have the words of the Gurus on your lips you will break the cycle of Death! It is not written this is for “Sikhs”, but for Sikhis !!, Learneners, sho understand the true meaning of the Guru Granth Sahib!

      • Dear Anna
        Thank you for your wise words. I have seen many ceremonies in Gurdwaras where people from other faiths have married and are happily together respecting both Sikhi and Humanity. I have also seen marraiges where both sides are from Sikh families,neither partner has taken Amrit and have little regard for anything.

  4. Dear Sir, there is only one big problem: The german law does not allow to change the name accept a girls gets married. So it is not possible to adopt the second name “Kaur”! We are happily married since more than 40 years, my husband a Sikh from Amritsar and me a german. Two daugthers, one son and 5 grandchildren. We live in GErmany, surrounded by another “Culture”. Our children are grown up in both societies. And it works very well! Our Gurus thaught us first of all tolerance! And that is what we at home and outside our home are practising. There is only “Ek onkar”, one God. He does not differenticiate between a Sikh, a Hindu, a Muslim are a Christian. Why do you think you have to do that? I married more than 40 years in Delhi under the Sikh-canopy. I had no “religion” at the time, just believed in the Almigthy. And that is what I still do. I admire deepest the Sikh Guru jees and what they did for the people. Did Guru Tegh Bahadur ji ask for religion? No, he gave his life for the mankind, not for a religion. Did Guru Gobind Singh ji fight only for Sikhs? No, for “his” sons and daugthers of whole India! Why freed Guru Hargobind Hindu-Rajas? Guru Angad ji wanted Husband and Wife to be ONE, not just talking about the everyday chorus. But he said not even a single word about both had to be Sikhi!

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