Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why just for a day? Why not forever?

I recently attend a wedding where the groom from a Sikh background, who incidentally had been growing a beard for the last few weeks put on a turban over his knot less head and went with his bride through a Sikh wedding ceremony. After the ceremony he headed for a hotel where at the reception he emerged clean shaven.

It has been said when you emerge and depart from this world it is with nothing. I believe that we have one item that does travel with us. It is called our soul, spirit or sense of presence. These elements or attributes enable and contribute strongly to our uniqueness and ability for independent thought. What we take with us is good deeds. We also have the potential to leave behind our integrity through honest living and treating everyone as equals. When we enter the world our religious path is in front of us. A sense of morals, mutual respect and love for each other are great personal goals – they are all ahead of us and something to strive for.

Last week I had a glimpse of the new satellite channel that features Punjabi culture. It aims to celebrate and illuminate cultural aspects of the Punjab for both an Indian and international audience. A few days back they had images of turbaned Sikhs walking through a village as part of a religious march. The segment was part / formed part of an insert congratulatory section by Dara Singh (clean shaven & the ex Champion wrestler/body builder/actor (?). He declared his support for the channel. During the freeview pre-launch days, programmes on astrology where being shown?! Combine this with Bollywood’s continual and damaging portrayal and emphasis of mixed Hindu and Sikh marriages being normal, everyday and common. Some people communicate in coarsely spoken Punjabi deemphasising the sweetness of this language. Is it not about time that we had a channel for Sikhs not what we have today, channels that are a mix, mesh and make-up of all things potentially from the northern part of India. Hey! We have so much talent in our community we have the potential to assemble some effective and educational media. We need more media to communicate the importance of all the elements of Sikhism which is not exclusive to Punjab. Sikhs are spread out all over the world and we have local links too that can help closer ties to all communities.

In the case of the ‘Just for a day’ person, everyone is different. The latter implies that he has created his own ‘pick-n’-mix’ situation. We need to remember that religion is not like a shopping trip to a super market. A road, path or given way of life (religion) is not thought controlled, it is clearly mapped out and the route presented when followed properly will lead to merging with God.

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