image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

CENSUS 2021 Deception of OPTIONAL RELIGION Tick Box for monitoring Equality of Treatment

CENSUS 2021 results are out and show that 25.8 million, that is 43.2 per cent of the population, showed no interest in RELIGION. The whole process leading up to the Census 2021, exposed institutional bias against the legal right of British Sikhs to be counted and monitored as a distinct ethnic community, a qaum, like other  communities e.g. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi etc.

According to one source, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) may have permanently deceived the people and politicians. For the Sikhs, the outcome is that despite an apparent increase in Sikh count to 524 thousand due to community activism, including educational Sikh TV programmes, court cases and even a belated directive from Jathedar Akal Takht Sahib, once again, hundreds of thousands of SIKHS have been mis-counted under other ethnicity categories.

But that is only half the story because British Sikhs showed internal divisions and allowed betrayal of longer term Sikh interests from within. As predicted, some, either influential, or those displaying Ph D tags, scored own community goal by opposing the compulsory Ethnicity (Qaumi) tick box. Some argued that Sikhs are a RELIGION community only. Others, by totally ignoring realities of the theo-political divisions of Panjabi communities, muddied the issue with some romantic notion of Panjabi nationalism. One bright Ph D even argued that writing SIKH would reduce the number of INDIANS in the UK! There was even a desperate Sikh communication to MPs which argued that allowing a SIKH ethnicity tick box would impliedly displease India and have a negative impact on UK trade relations with India! In addition, as is the regrettable Sikh history, just because one jathebandi took the initiative to expose ONS tactics, others just sat back instead of joining in for Panth di Chardhi Kalaa.

These were the odds faced by those who challenged the Government tactics openly and also through the courts. The only silver lining to this cloud was that much awareness of SIKH qaomi identity was raised. A compulsory SIKH ethnicity tick box would have left no doubt because all Sikhs would have ticked that box to show the true number of Sikhs in the UK to be closer to one million. That would have meant more accurate Sikh count to address local and national policies and better monitoring to ensure a level playing field for British Sikhs which is their right as hardworking net contributors to the British economy and society. Numbers and the political clout they represent, do matter in a democracy to be heard and heeded.

Finally, let there be no doubt: Sikhi is NOT just a religion only. Sikhs have always asserted spiritual and temporal sovereignty. To quote from Bhatt Bani:

ਦੇਵ ਪੁਰੀ ਮਹਿ ਗਯਉ ਆਪਿ ਪਰਮੇਸ੍ਵਰ ਭਾਯਉ 

When it was the Will of the Transcendent Lord Himself, Guru Raam Daas went to His City (the Realm of Truth)

ਹਰਿ ਸਿੰਘਾਸਣੁ ਦੀਅਉ ਸਿਰੀ ਗੁਰੁ ਤਹ ਬੈਠਾਯਉ 

The Lord offered Him Own Royal Throne, and seated the Guru upon it.


ਛਤ੍ਰੁ ਸਿੰਘਾਸਨੁ ਪਿਰਥਮੀ ਗੁਰ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਕਉ ਦੇ ਆਇਅਉ 

He gave the Royal Canopy and Throne of the world to Guru Arjun.

Bhatt Bani, SGGS 1409)

Let us follow the True Guru who offers us freedom in both worlds.

Sikhi is a spiritual-temporal Panth and not just a traditional OPTIONAL religion only.

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant Retd (UK)