Recently, Sikh Channel’s facebook page posted a link to a duo of white Sikhs who had won the grammy for the best new age album. Accompanying this was the headline from Sikh Channel, asking the question: “Why do “Gora Sikhs” often make much better Sikhs than Punjabi Sikhs. Any ideas?”
The colonized amongst us cheered on, resharing this post over a hundred times and giving it over a thousand likes. The unimaginable ignobility of Sikh Channel to even pose such a question is beyond reason. It’s as if in that moment of brevity, they suffered a collective amnesia, assailing their grasp on Sikhi and Sikh history, the history of European society, imperialism, colonialism and even the violently questionable practices of 3H0, where this Grammy-winning duo find habitat.
The intelligentsia of Sikh Channel was so astonished that two white “3H0 Sikhs” won a Grammy that they began a slow, pathetic cognitive dissonance toward utter idiocy.
So now that Sikh Channel has concluded that “Gora Sikhs” often make for much better Sikhs than Panjabi Sikhs, perhaps, conversely, we should ask: “Why aren’t Panjabi Sikhs living up to Guru Nanak’s revolution, like Goray Sikhs are?” Herein, of course, lays the peculiarity of this retort: Guru Nanak, born in the Panjab, a Panjabi, started a revolution of such gravity that it would come to dispell and destroy thousands of years of violent, oppressive stratification of society. The subsequent Sikh Guru’s would continue to spread revolution throughout the Panjab: emancipating the poor, destroying the shackles of caste and misogyny, establishing an egalitarian society and even giving their own lives to the furtherance of this revolution. Our Guru’s weren’t alone in this mission. With them stood hundreds of thousands of Panjabis, men, and women alike, whose blood fertilizes the land Sikh Channel seems to have forgotten.
From the onset of Mughal oppression to the storied struggle of the Ghadar movement that violently rid the Indian sub-continent of the genocidal British occupation and colonization of their lands, Panjabi Sikhs have stood, and given their lives for the virtues that white men have only entertained in nebulous fantasies. Tens of thousands of Sikhs took to the streets to protest Indira Gandhi’s dictatorial measures; consequently, tens of thousands more would be massacred for taking up arms against this Indian State’s genocidal policies. All this, while these “Goray Sikhs” were well and sound in their silos.
Perhaps another question Sikh Channel should ask is where are these “Goray Sikhs” when Sikhs in the Panjab continue to suffer from systematic oppression and violence? Are they not the Sikhs of Guru Nanak too?
When Sikhs say the Ardas, we are not reciting a ‘prayer’; instead we are being instructed to follow a mandate:
“Panja Piyariya, Chauhaa Sahibzadiya, Chaliya Mukhtiya, Huthiya, Jupiya, Tupiya, Jina Nam Jupiya, Vand Shakiya, Deg Chalaaee, Teg Vaahee, Dekh Ke Andhith Keetaa, Tinhaa Piariyaa, Sachiaariyaa Dee Kamaaee, Da Dhiyaan Dhar Ke Bolo Ji Waheguroo”
“Think of the deeds of the Five Beloved Ones, of the four sons (of Guru Gobind Singh); of the Forty Martyrs; of the brave Sikhs of indomitable determination; of the devotees steeped in the colour of the Name; of those who were absorbed in the Name; of those who remembered the Name and shared their food in companionship; of those who started free kitchens; of those who wielded their swords (for preserving truth); of those who overlooked others shortcomings; All the aforesaid were pure and truly devoted ones; Utter Wahe Guru (Wondrous God)!”
“Jinaa Singhaa Singhneeyaa Ne Dharam Het Sees Dithe, Bund Bund Kuttai, Khopriya Luhayiya, Charukriya Te Churhe, Aariaa Naal Chiraae Ge, Gurdwaraiya Di Seva Layee Kurbaniya Keethiya, Dharam Nehee Haariye, Sikhi Kesaa Suwaasaa Naal Nibaahee, Tina Dee Kamaaee Daa Dhiyaan Dhar Ke Bolo Ji Waheguroo”
“Think of and remember the unique service rendered by those brave Sikh men as well as women, who sacrificed their heads but did not surrender their Sikh Religion; Who got themselves cut to pieces from each of the joints of the body; Who got their scalps removed; Who were tied and rotated on the wheels and broken into pieces; Who were cut by saws; Who were flayed alive; Who sacrificed themselves to upkeep the dignity of the Gurdwaras; Who did not abandon their Sikh faith; Who kept their Sikh Religion and saved their long hair till their last breath; Utter Wahe Guru (Wondrous God)!”
Perhaps the only question we need to ask Sikh Channel is when they say their Ardasaan, will they also include all the so-called sacrifices our “goray Sikhs” have made? Probably not, because that has never happened.
Sikhi was born out of Panjab, by Panjabis and spread by Panjabis. It’s their blood that flows throughout Panjab. And to disregard that so flippantly is all the more shocking for coming from one of the widest heard voices in all Sikhdom.