image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Year 2019: Sikh Issues Carried Forward from 2018

    The start of another year is the time for reviewing community progress against the priorities set out in The Sikh Manifesto 2015 &ndash 2020**. The topics include Sikh ethnic (qaumi) recognition in Census 2021 more effective Sikh representation in Parliament official Code of Practice for Sikh Kakaars and related Sikh identity issues more Sikh ethos schools First World War Sikh monument in London Sikh human rights issues and the Sikh right to self-determination.

    An article quoted late Bhai Jagraj Singh as saying:- Guru Sahib has told us &ndash where ever we are, take hold of power and change! For whom? Change not for our benefit but&hellip working for the benefit of everyone.. Giving food, giving justice to everyone. Sikhs are the ones who are willing to put their lives on the line to give other people freedom. (Winter is coming: Why Sikhs need to prepare for the imminent storm BurfiCulture 20 May 2018.) Taking hold of power for sarbatt da bhalaa requires Panthic organisation and selfless service by all according to own ability and resources. The Guru taught us collective lead and decision-making processes leading to collective activism. There is no room for self-appointed leaders-for-life in Sikhi.

One of the most important ongoing British Sikh objectives is Ethnic Monitoring of Sikhs by allocation of a SIKH tick box in Census 2021. In the long-term, directly or indirectly, this Sikh right impacts on all other aims listed in the Sikh Manifesto. When Sikhs get counted and monitored in own right under the current monitoring system, only then will they get recorded and recognised in every field. They will be seen and heard. Otherwise, they will continue to remain invisible so far as policy makers and the British establishment is concerned. A seminar at the Sikh Missionary Society UK, Sikh Ik Vakhri Qaum Hai, is a good start for the next phase in this campaign.

Sikhs face global challenges which also offer opportunities for qaumi progress. In the same article quoted above, the journalist, Sunny Hundal, predicted two global challenges:- firstly, that tensions between Sikhs and the Indian government will grow again and, secondly, there will be more hostility against the Sikhs, and tension in the West. Diaspora Sikhs are likely to keep demanding justice for 1984 and highlight human rights violations. The clash between Modi&rsquos BJP government and the Sikhs abroad is likely to continue and escalate as the Sikh diaspora matures and becomes more powerful.

The author believes that, increasingly, Sikhs in the diaspora living in free environments, will speak out against the injustices in India while showing solidarity with other Indian minorities like the Dalits. The Indian government reaction will be to continue accusing Sikhs of funding terrorism without proof (in 2015 and 2018, in UK and Canada).

Sikhs need better organisation and media management. They need processes for managing internal conflicts and doctrinal disagreements. That is an important role of a reformed and re-directed Sikh Council UK which should co-ordinate and complement other national level organisations instead of competing with them.

       With identity Sikh successes in politics, the next step in Year 2019 should be visible Sikh presence in the Western media, especially mainstream TV. (**Sikh Manifesto link: http://www.sikhnet.com/news/sikh-manifesto)

 

Gurmukh Singh OBE