After the news of another hate crime against a Sikh American last week, American Turban contributor Lori Way shares a timely poem from a young author from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many thanks to Lori and author Sandeep Kaur for sharing this reflection.
Sandeep Kaur is currently a pharmacy student at Manchester University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but she was just 18 in the summer of 2013 when she wrote “A Land of Love.” The poem was selected for publication in the Nirbhau Nirvair anthology, a work compiled and published by the Junior Sikh Coalition. The book brings together visual art and poetry created by Sikh students from across the United States. The goal of the project was to give young Sikhs a way to express their feelings about the bullying and hate crimes that have touched their community.
Although Kaur states that she was never the victim of a hate crime or bullying herself, she acknowledges that hearing the stories of other persecuted Sikhs has had a profound impact upon her. “It hurts when I see that my own people are being subjected to hate when we are so loving,” says Kaur. “We’re so accepting of others, yet others mistake us.” Her inspiration for writing “A Land of Love” draws from this need to let others outside of the Sikh community know that her religion is one of peace.
Kaur’s poem juxtaposes the American ideal of multicultural harmony with the realities of racial violence. In a nation splintered by hate crimes, Kaur hopes that her poem will spread the message of love and unity. “We’re all under the same God,” says Kaur. “We’re all the same, so we need to have that mutual love.” This sentiment is conveyed most effectively in the poem’s description of the various colors and dreams which emanate from God and are expressed through human diversity. Kaur believes that “All our aspirations, all that we dream about or to become – that’s all His blessing for us. We are able to dream big because He gives us that power. He instills in us the ability to achieve those dreams.” Yet even within this diversity, Kaur reminds the reader that “we all have the same blood.”
“A Land of Love” by Sandeep Kaur