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Friday, February 24, 2006

Neither hair nor there

I am amazed by how well educated some of my peers are about Sikhism. It is indeed heartening to know that young Sikhs are so well acquainted with Gurbani and Sikh principles. Compared to you guys, I am so naive.

Hair or no hair is indeed the million dollar question. I have already expressed my personal views on this issue. I am trained to analyze evidence and form opinions based on the merit of evidence. However, I have chosen to reserve my analytic faculties for my professional life. I study religion and spirituality to be closer to God. I have chosen to be a servant to God rather than a brat son. That might appear childish to some of you but that is how I have felt since my younger years and it is hard for me to divorce myself from that thought process.

I am not smart enough to quote Gurbani to support or refute one view or the other. Some of you are erudite enough to argue one way or the other and I am jealous of you for being so well conversant with Gurbani. I do not know whether Gursikhs are better Sikhs than monas or not. Thinking casually and perhaps selfishly, I would imagine that monas have taken the easy way out. Like I mentioned before, it is a matter of how comfortable one is with the "rules". Who knows if the "rules" themselves are valid or not? Who knows that whether "rules" should change with the changing times? All these are valid questions and the answers to these will determine the future of Sikhism. I do blame the so called Sikh leadership for failing to address these issues especially with the younger people.

More and more of us have become oblivious to our history. I am no expert in the field but I do realize that kesh did represent one's grit and determination to resist tyranny. Our times are certainly different from those centuries ago and a growing number of young Sikhs have questioned the relevance of such symbols in modern times. What is disturbing is the animosity between the two groups. I know of some Sikh families who would not even talk to a mona Sikh. The other way round is rampant too and all of you know that I know that personally. I personally am not a big fan of this rift and I certainly resent the implication that Gursikhs are fundamentalist. I value my relationship with God and follow the path that I think He chose for me. But I do not criticize others for following a different path.

Anyways, I am learning from all the debate. Thank you all for your comments.


Anonymous Raiini said...

My dear trust me-----still relevant.

7:40 PM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger Sikh Tourism said...

Veer Mere .. Sabar kar .. there are people in the world who appreciate Sikh people especially wearing turban ... and I had my own experince.

Even a friend of mine has married a girl in France who has converted more to Sikhism than what he could get himself in French atmosphere .

still I appreciate your feelings ....

parvinder singh

1:33 AM, February 25, 2006  
Blogger Angad Singh said...

i agree with wht you say harry..and yr points make so much of sense..

however wht irks me is people pass their own views/beliefs as the guru's wish/hukam and that is mis representation..they are mis leading people and that the only reason i speak up..

i have frens who cut their hair and i even have frens who even keep bibek..i dont disriminate..if god does not who are we to..henna..

guru ang sang!

7:53 AM, February 26, 2006  
Anonymous Puneet2 said...

First of all, I am not calling all people who keep their hair fundamentalist. The only ones I consider fundamentalists are like those uncles who used to tell my family that we were going to Hell (would be eternally damned and so forth) because we cut our hair and tried to isolate us from the community. Those are the people I consider fundamentalist, because to me, fundamentalist is equivalent with intolerant.
Not all those who keep their hair are "fundamentalist," I agree.

Secondly, being "mona" is not "the easy way out." It is harder to be criticized by your own community and rejected by them, just like you've said about yourself, Harry. It doesn't matter what Americans might think. As a "mona," it's your own people who tell you you're not allowed to touch the Guru Granth Sahib or read hukam in gurdwara because of your hair. (No such restriction existed in India according to my grandfather, at least during his time there). These same people tell you also that you are not welcome at youth Sikh camps. I was told on multiple occasions that I did not deserve to be considered a "leader" of Sikh youth because of my cut hair and that I would be thrown out of a youth camp if I tried to come there.

I can tell you that "monay" do not have it "easy." We are thrown around and isolated by intolerant fundamentalists. And yes, I will call them that. They are not all people who keep their hair, but they are those who are not compassionate and tolerant of others.

I maintain what I said before. There is not historical proof that long hair was a hukam. Some of the "hukams" people refer to may have been distorted by Sikhs in times after Guru Gobind Singh, and this is the piece that has been debated. Are these hukams authentic? There is very little in the Guru Granth Sahib by Guru Gobind Singh, apart from Benti Chaupai and a few other compositions. None of these refer to hair. Our Guru, our Living Guru, the Adi Granth, says not one line about keeping hair. So I'm not nuts, I'm just quoting facts to all of you. We may have been led to believe hair is an order from Guru Gobind Singh, but I don't know if we have adequate historical proof.

Today, it is a cultural choice. There are Sardars in Punjabi that have converted to Christianty lately. I don't know how many of you saw the story on Sikhnet, but if you look in the archives, you will find it from a few days ago. Sikhs are keeping their hair, yet accepting Jesus as their savior. So what are these men? Sardars? Gursikhs? Christians?

The categories are becoming more and more confused.

Bottom line: a Gursikh is one who is a student of the guru. I am a student of the Guru Granth Sahib -- I read it, study it, translate it, and try to be a devoted disciple to my guru. Therefore, Harry, I consider myself to be a "Gursikh," just as much as you do. And hair has absolutely nothing to do with it for me. It's about being thoughtful, connecting deeply with the Bani, and trying to live it out everyday.

I happen to share this love of Bani and Sikhi with my husband, who also keeps his hair. But that's not what makes him, or me, a Gursikh. Hair is a superficial attribute-- it falls out, changes colors, etc. etc.

Bringing this back to your journey of finding a wife -- in the end, the type of woman that you're looking for (I'm guessing) is one who would marry you whether you had hair or not. Probably someone open-minded and tolerant, and of course, thoughtful. Or would you prefer someone very religious that is looking only for a Sardar? Have you thought about this? Do you want a woman focused completely on hair as the mark of her faith, or someone focused on inner qualities and Bani?

5:38 PM, February 26, 2006  
Anonymous Puneet2 said...

Also, I am not giving out my email because I prefer not to post it publicly. But if you have something to say to me, please go ahead and say it.

5:38 PM, February 26, 2006  
Blogger Angad Singh said...

puneet 2

i agree with you on points that monays dont have a easy way and all of that..they should not be shun..i mean who are we to shun some one ..however, at the same time we must not preach that cutting hair is ok..cause it is not..

u claim there is no hukam on hair and all..there are no scholars who disagree on the fact that cutting any form of hair is a bajjar khuret..

if you have such evidence please point us to it..cause if that is the case then the enitre religion will get changed...

please get your facts right
there is nothing..absolutely nothing written by the 10th master in the SGGS..his bani is in the dasam granth.. and all scholars agree that everything with the title "Sri Mukhvak Pathshai Dasve" is surely written by the 10th master..however they do not all agree about banis which start with either patshai dasvee or with other title like the bachitar natak..

the SGGS does not even talk about amrit does not even include jaap sahib or bentai chaupee.. so are you saying its all bull its of no reverence..

..i agree that a lot of literature has been distorted..but u gotta at past documents..and by numerous sources..when they all point to 1 direction its obvious that it is true..just cause u were not there or its not in SGGS..i mean if you have such qurestions then please get to the root..of it dont just sit and assume wht you want to assume..

u talk about punjabis who become christians..they are christians they dont need to keep hair they want to they can ..that is cultural i agree..

yes a guru's sikh is as defined..very true..

i am sorry to is a major part..and its not hair only its the entire amrit ceremony..the enitre khalsa that you are questioning..and that i believe is wrong..if you really have this question go and do a search on it..else use the evidence which states that amrit sanchar is relevant..totally relevant..

8:17 PM, February 26, 2006  
Blogger Angad Singh said...

and i really dont know why u are putting a front up for monas i nvr said anything about them..

8:19 PM, February 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for responding to my email request. You don't wanna post your email address publicly.

But I had posted my email publicly for you. So you could respond to my email without posting your email publicly.

8:41 PM, February 26, 2006  

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