Language, Culture, and Faith...
Just a little admin stuff before we get started. Southern Sikh has a Twitter now, @sikhsouthern if you want to follow or just touch base. I’ve had some pretty positive commentary both public and private so please don’t hesitate to comment whether it’s good or bad. I’m just a student so making mistakes is going to happen and I apologize for them ahead of time. Now on to the show!
Gurpreet Kaur posted that she had completed the Harvard Edx course “Understanding Sikhism through it’s Scriptures” and found it to be a positive experience. I had considered enrolling when it first came out but just hadn’t taken the time; So I enrolled to audit the course and that’s where this post begins.
Language: Guru Nanak started the Gurmukhi script and wrote in the Punjabi language so Gurbani could be read and understood by the most common of people. It is also true that when he was traveling he spoke to everyone in their common tongue so they could also understand. He was fluent in Sanscrit, Persian, Punjabi and many other dialects which made Guru Nanak and his teachings accessible. In my readings it appears that until the last 10 years or so that approach was abandoned by the vast majority of Sikhs. There is a lot available in English but it requires some pretty serious digging sometimes. I make no claim that converts shouldn’t learn Gurmukhi to the best of their ability but until that happens it would be great if there was more instruction in other languages.
Culture: Sikhi was started and nurtured in the Punjab region of India but I can’t find anything to say that Sikhi was for Punjabi’s only nor have I found anything that states that Sikhi will include Punjabi cultural bias as a tenet of faith, in fact I’ve found quite the opposite. So as I stated earlier I started a Twitter account and I find a lot discussion that is race based and in a lot of cases those discussions aren’t so kind. I hope in my lifetime that the Sikh community will eventually stop discussing things based on race, caste, and other things and starts seeing the bigger picture.
Faith: Our faith is not based on caste, color, country of origin or gender. It shouldn’t be biased against native language or culture either. We are supposed to be blind to all of that and see God in every person regardless.
I know it sounds like I’m preaching or calling people out and honestly that’s not my intent. I want to spur discussion only and like I said I accept any and all commentary as long as it’s productive.