I was sitting next to Joe on a plane the other daaayyyy (Toronto Singhs Camp 2019 #1)
The title has nothing to do with this post but I promised a poor soul named Joe that listened to me drone on for 2 1/2 hours on my flight home from camp. Joe was with his wife traveling to see his mother in California…sometimes I talk too much LOL.
The Title of this post would have been something like “Embracing our differences”. I just spent a week with a bunch of Singhs from all over, different backgrounds, cultures and nations. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. A group of men with so much passion for their faith and each other.
I know for a fact that we had Canadians, Americans, Brits and Punjabi’s there. Within that there were AKJ, Nihang, Thaksali’s and for all I know there were more. There were some Singhs there I would refer to as Ultra Orthodox, Orthodox, non conformists, Singhs searching for their faith and one convert with an anxeity disorder. There were teachers, bankers, entrepreneurs, soldiers, civil servants as well as little Singhs as young as four years old with their fathers.
Diversity comes in so many ways, shapes and sizes. We take for granted all of the rich diversity we have in our own Panth. I have the misfortune of reading so much hate and discontent on social media from within Sikhi itself yet I spent five days with this amazing group of men and discover it is possible to put aside our differences and worship together in peace and harmony. To sing Kirtan, do Ardas, perform Sewa and just play. We can find peace together as a Panth that is whole if we would just embrace our differences instead of insisting that everyone else is just wrong.
We are a faith that will not stand for forced conversion yet people within our own Panth insist that their way is correct and demand that everyone else do it their way. That is a form of at least coerced if not forced conversion. The Mughuls insisted that everyone do it their way and only their way is right…Sikhs shed blood to make sure that didn’t happen yet we fight among ourselves saying the same thing that the Mughuls did and the Hindu’s are doing now in India.
We are Sikhs, we are defenders, feeders of the hungry and compassionate above all things. I have seen a united Panth and it is strong and passionate. I will forever strive to see a united Panth that is whole and undivided despite our differences.
It can be done…I have seen it…I have experienced it and WE need it.