American Turban

Rejecting the victimhood narrative

Depiction of the execution of Bhai Mani Singh in 1737.

Depiction of the execution of Bhai Mani Singh in 1737.

There has been significant conversation from and within the Sikh community in regard to the recent hate attack on Dr. Prabhjot Singh a few weeks ago, of the response, and about what is needed to prevent future attacks and discrimination.

Citing the story of Bhai Mani Singh (who was brutally executed in 1737), Simran Jeet Singh discusses the concept of victimhood (or lack therof) in the Sikh faith to provide context around the reaction by many Sikhs to the attack on Dr. Singh (including that of his own):

Even today Sikhs do not grieve Bhai Mani Singh as a victim of oppression. Sikhs celebrate his service and contribution and remember the price he paid in the Ardās, a prayer that includes the words “band band katāe (dismembered joint-by-joint).” The story of Bhai Mani Singh symbolizes the Sikh commitment to battle oppression and to celebrate those who have made sacrifices to stand against injustice. Sikhs do not remember him as a helpless victim but as a heroic activist.

The history we celebrate today demonstrates the ideals we must continue to carry tomorrow. Read more, particularly in how these ideals relate to the attack on Dr. Singh, in Religion Dispatches.

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