A few things I wanted to put on paper as the day’s events are fresh in my mind. They are a little rough on the edges so bear with me:
Have organized Media Vigilance & a coherent narrative
It was sad to see that even CNN began the events coverage with appallingly little knowledge of sikhs. As the events happened, I saw a disorganized effort from Sikhs (including me) across twitter correcting @cnn & @fox_news. The beauty was, though there was no central direction to the sikh sikh response, we had a coherent narrative:
1. Do not confuse sikhs with – muslims, hindus or anyone else
2. Even if this attack were on a mosque, it would have been equally despicable
3. Feel free to ask us anything about sikhs, we are happy to answer
Good that we have a new generation that is actively engaged on social media. We need to find a way of consolidating our narrative, especially given the fact that we are a minority everywhere- even the land of our birth: Hindustan.
Sikhs have teachings of love & peace but in a very middle-of-the-road way:
“One who does not frighten anyone, and who is not afraid of anyone else – says Nanak, listen, my mind: call him spiritually wise. ||16||”
Since the establishment of the Akal Takhat (Throne beyond Time) in 1606 sikhs have carried weapons, not for self defense: but for the defense of truth, liberty & freedom of the disenfranchised. It becomes a touchy issue in the US. Most Sikhs would rather have stricter controls & checks based on the mental health of a gun buyer/owner.
But, since the gun laws are not going to change anytime soon & Sikhs will always be the most likely target of hate crimes in this country.
Should Sikhs just do the seemingly rational thing: start bearing firearms that the law allows them to?
#Occupy our #Gurdwaras
This is a side note. It might hurt some feelings. But this is what I think:
I went to the Fremont Gurdwara in the evening, expecting that sikhs would have gathered & the Gurdwara leadership would be organizing a response. But sadly, all what was going on was recitation of the Gurmantar.
Gurdwara’s need to once again be a place of learning, organizing & service to the whole community they exist in. Instead they seem to have become insular institutions where we go & practice questionable rituals.
We need to make sure that Sikhs participate more visibly in the greater social story that happened beyond the walls of the Gurdwara, instead of creating an inward community that no one knows of until a monster comes in shooting us with a semi-automatic.
Stay “chardi kala”. (Stay “continually ascendent in positive values”)
No discussion on this point!