American Turban

Sikhs and the Occupy movement

"NYC Sikh Sangat at Occupy Wall Street" (photo: 3ho.org)

"NYC Sikh Sangat at Occupy Wall Street" (photo: 3ho.org)

As the Occupy movement – a general protest of the growing control of the financial sector over government – spreads across the country (and indeed, around the world), Sikhs are actively participating in protests around the United States, taking their inspiration from Sikh teachings.

One Sikh from New York, Sonny Singh, describes his motivation, asserting that it behooves a Sikh to stand up for the poor by way of this movement (against “corporate tyranny”) based on the teachings of the Gurus:

Our Gurus consistently identified with the “lowest of the low” and the poor, and spoke up for those at the bottom of society — the majority, in fact.

In another post, he finds parallels with the decision-making processes of the Occupy movement and historic Sikh assemblies which brings forth consensus from the masses.

Another Sikh, Basant Singh Khalsa, also describes what has brought him to join and volunteer in the protests (via Sepia Mutiny):

If you ask why Khalsa volunteers for this thankless work, he won’t invoke any slow-food ideals of shared meals and sharing knowledge about sustainability. Instead, he’ll invoke his religion, Sikhism. “I like to help people,” says the turbaned Khalsa, who embodies both authority and the collective. He’s the master of his kitchen and the servant of the hungry.

Other Sikhs have taken the opportunity to support the protestors by leading meditation and yoga workshops (the “Occupy Yoga” group).

These Sikhs make a legitimate point about how the basis of the Occupy movement resounds strongly with the tenets of Sikhism.  As Sikhs, we need to be honest with ourselves and learn to support this movement.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you so much for taking your time to make this site! I have been ditnag a punjabi boy for sometime now, and the culture differences, language and religion are so difficult for me to understand at times. I want to be able to completely understand him, but it is hard, and it seems that you know the feeling very well. So thank you!

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