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.
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.