image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

British & Global Sikh Issues Carried Over to New Year 2020 (Part IV – Conclusion)

  Why Sikh qaumi identity & Sikh organisation?

 

   UK General Election 2019 and massive Conservative Party victory, has decided the political future of the country for the next five years. British Sikh political activism will be guided accordingly to ensure effective and balanced Sikh political representation and influence.

Many Sikhs are doing well in businesses and commerce and their leaning towards the Conservative Party against the general Sikh bias towards Labour Part, is understandable. Appointment of a successful Sikh businessman, Rami Ranger, as a new Lord following earlier appointment of Lord Ranbir Singh Suri by the Tories should be read as a welcome signal to the Sikhs. We also await grassroots Sikh political representation in the Lords while celebrating the return of Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Preet Kaur Gill to the House of Commons.

It is important that UK Sikhs should know the views of those Sikhs who are in a position to influence the government and the establishment. The Sikh Manifesto 2020-25 provides us with a benchmark for doing just by asking the right questions. Promotion of independent Sikh ideology and institutions, and representation of Sikh identity in political and civic life of the diaspora countries will remain high on Sikh socio-political agenda. This is also the most effective way to respond to open attempts to assimilate Sikhi by distorting Sikh history and ideology. The Ayudhia Supreme Court case judgement which involved Sikhs as a sect, is the most recent provocation.

In the UK, a related issue about Sikh identity is the accurate Sikh count in Census 2021 and monitoring by thousands of public bodies. One view which represents Sikhs as a religion only, fails to achieve this objective and also denies Sikh miri-piri qaumi Panthic/organisational aspect. The Panthic Rehni (Sikh corporate living) part of the Sikh Reht Maryada is is relevant. Legally, the problem was resolved for the Sikhs by the House of Lords in 1983 by confirming that the Sikhs are both, a religion and an ethnic minority in UK. Ethnicity has been defined by certain characteristics which are the same as those of a qaum e.g. the Sikh Qaum. A vast majority of UK Sikhs are well satisfied by that legal definition which has not been, and cannot be, challenged in the UK courts.

Globally, the Sikhs are a theo-political people. As a last resort, they can demand a Sikh state. An essay by Sirdar Kapur Singh about the theo-political status of Darbar Sahib - The Golden Temple: Its Theo-Political Status (SGPC publication 1998), shows how the miri-piri default mechanism works due to the inalienable sovereign status of Darbar Sahib. Sikhs have successfully defied oppressive rule over the centuries. There is also the Sikh view that the Sikhs have suffered enough and have no option after 1984 Ghalughara, but to demand an independent Sikh state. The consequences of this demand need to be weighed against the openly declared Hindu Rashtra objective of the present rulers of India.

 

The Message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is universal. It is for all humankind. However, the Sikhi path of Guru Nanak-Guru Gobind Singh demands the ultimate sacrifice from the Sikhs who actually chose to follow it. Otherwise, all are welcome to celebrate Guru Nanak Parkash 550th year.

Gurmukh Singh OBE