Kids Corner


Conversation about this article

1: Saneha Kaur (Canada), January 19, 2010, 11:51 AM.

Excellent article! Gets the point across! I always self identify as SIKH and Canadian because I was born here ... I am not and never will be Indian (although Hindus insist I am because my parents are from there, and take offense at my comments ... but that's their problem!). I also say I speak Punjabi, not Hindi, because it is true! I speak English with my friends and in western society; and then Punjabi with my parents and within the Sikh community. I have never had the need to speak any other language since the rest of the world also speaks English!

2: Pardeep Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 20, 2010, 11:18 AM.

Just as worse are the Westcoasters in Canada referring to us as Indo-Canadians!

3: Harcharan Singh (London, United Kindom), January 20, 2010, 12:08 PM.

My extended family and I left India in disgust and have no emotional attachment to it, other than to Punjab and Sikhs. To borrow words from Shakespeare, "I'd rather be a dog, and bay at the moon ..." than be called a Hindoo or an Indo-anything. It would be like getting demoted. Our ancestors parted company with Hinduism five centuries ago; we have parted company from that miserable land 25 years ago! I'm a Sikh-Briton to the core ... and proud of it!

4: Davinder Kaur (United Kingdom), January 20, 2010, 1:08 PM.

Harcharan Singh ji: It is refreshing to hear your views.... it becomes very depressing to hear the 'but we are descendents of Hindus' line over and over again, especially from older Sikhs who have lived most of their lives in India and are unable to let go of their 'attachments'! I have found that most of the resistance I have met has not come from Westerners who are purely 'uneducated' in our ways and beliefs but from other Sikhs! It is most discouraging and I am at the point of throwing in the towel and leaving them to their 'well-deserved' fate but unfortunately it will not be they who suffer but the poor and innocent in the Punjab. The Sikhs from so-called 'well-to-do' families truly disgust me, and are the most opposed to Sikh freedom and rights because they have already sold themselves to the rulers!

5: Natalie Singh (Canada), January 20, 2010, 3:51 PM.

Hear, hear, Sardar Harcharan Singh ... Rule Britannia!

6: Jaggi Singh (Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.), January 20, 2010, 5:45 PM.

Sher Veer ji, very well said. Having bounced around the world, I too have picked up a few names along the way. In Uganda I was Asian, in England I was Indian, in Canada, I was an East Indian first and now I am South Asian. But generally between UK and North America, I am a "paki". Unfortunately, Sikh is not an easy word to pronounce for westerners. One can often hear a Sikh telling others that he is a Seek. Which is really not too far from the truth. A Sikh is a student, a seeker.

7: Randhir Singh Birdi (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), January 21, 2010, 8:42 AM.

An excellent article, summarizing a lot of history in only a few words.

8: Parm Chahal (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), January 21, 2010, 8:42 PM.

If you had mentioned in your concluding paragraph examples such as: Christian-Canadian, Jewish-American - only then the comparable would be Sikh-Canadian, Sikh-American, etc.

9: Tejwant Singh (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), January 25, 2010, 12:03 PM.

I landed at a party of the rich and famous wearing a black turban in Santos - the sea port, via Sao Paulo, Brasil - in October 1975 at the age of 21, after having lived in the UK since the age of 15. The next day my picture was in the social column of the Santos newspaper with the caption - 'The Sikh Prince from India arrived in Santos'. My pictures were also often in the social columns of the Sao Paulo newspapers when I moved there in January 1976. The point I am trying to make is that only Europeans living in North America are parochial minded and flaunt their ignorance, which is not the case with Europeans living in South America in countries like Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. I lived in Brasil for 9 years and traveled around different neighbouring countries and was always treated with awe and respect. Perhaps their ancestors left their stiff upper lips back home.

10: Baljit Singh Pelia (Los Angeles, California, USA), September 27, 2013, 9:54 AM.

Guru Nanak brought all diverse people of the subcontinent together as Sikhs. We and our ancestors, from various parts of the land, joined this brotherhood of our own free will. So shouldn't all people of the subcontinent be collectively classified as Sikhs since all Indians believe in Guru Nanak and his teachings of One God and One Race?

11: Sunny Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), September 27, 2013, 11:31 AM.

I am currently studying in Oregon, USA and for the first time I am in an area where Punjabis are not the overwhelming majority in relation to the other Indian communities. When someone asks what my ethnicity is, I always reply "Punjabi-Indian". I state Punjabi before Indian, and only say Indian because Americans are not very geographically inclined. I also point out to people that as a Punjabi I don't have much in common with people from other parts of India. This is even truer when looking at the structure of the diaspora of the different Indian communities. Regardless of what country we settle in, the children of Punjabi Sikhs are aware of the fact that they are Punjabi. The children of Indian Hindus are either completely assimilated, embarrassed of their religion or India, or have a weak casual link to India as it is the birthplace of their parents. We should not diminish our identity by labeling ourselves anything other than Punjabi, even in India it is synonymous with Sikh.

12: Ari Singh (Burgas, Bulgaria), September 30, 2013, 1:33 PM.

Interesting article. And in USA we are known as Osamas! I am not surprised that we have been collectively grouped under "South Asians" because we are willing to be bunched with the low achievers of India, compared to Europeans. Imagine: only one gold medal in Olympics, a few Nobel prizes for a population of 1.2 billion!

13: Kulvinder Jit Kaur (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada), September 14, 2015, 6:06 PM.

A fresh and original perspective and right on the dot. How we accept labels without questioning! Thanks for opening our eyes. We are Sikh Canadians or Canadian Sikhs, whichever way it sounds good. Some object to hyphenated Canadians but then why are we referred to as South Asians? Why not just Canadians. If we have to be defined then let them define us accurately as Sikh-Canadians.

14: G Singh (USA), September 14, 2015, 8:39 PM.

We need to break out! Kudos to Sher Singh to underlining that we are not Muslims or Hindus, etc., that we are Sikhs. Having paid the price for being mistaken as a Muslim or Hindu numerous times, I now have hesitancy in telling people I meet that I am not one and send them Wikipedia links to "Battle of Saragarhi" and "Sikhs". Get rid of the quagmire. Stand up and say you are a Sikh. There is nothing wrong with it. We, as a community should not pay a price for the dastardly deeds of others.

15: Arjan Singh (USA), September 15, 2015, 5:19 PM.

Excellent read. The author has shed light on the identification dilemma every Sikh family faces when they emigrate from India. I would say to them: you have a unique opportunity to claim your identity, preserve your Sikh culture and be loyal to your host country. As mostly Sikh men wear turbans, the solution is easier for them - just keep tying your turbans as you will be identified from a mile away.

16: Arjan Singh (USA), June 21, 2018, 4:07 PM.

This is one of the most insightful and well-researched articles I have read on this subject. Yes, my ancestors at one point may have been Hindus/Muslim or of other faiths; but at one point in time they adopted the Sikh way of life. There is no doubt in my mind that our ancestors would not want to be identified with Hinduism or the Islamic faith; after all they did make conscious decisions. I agree with #1, #3 and #4 comments; the Hindu community in India is not willing to accept that the Sikhs identify themselves separate from Hinduism. However, I must admit that part of the blame must be placed on the Sikh community in India itself, as pointed out by Davinder ji. The so-called ‘well-to-do’ ones are getting distant from Sikh values, traditions and rights. In a civic society religion is a personal matter; but for the Sikh community the physical appearance makes them stand out, so we must strive to go to extra lengths to ensure that we explain our cultural identity and heritage, and not let the Hindu or Muslim community dilute our identity.

17: Mohan Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 22, 2018, 8:19 AM.

"I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan. I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. || 1 || The One Lord, the Lord of the World, is my God Allah. He administers justice to both Hindus and Muslims. || 1 || Pause || I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines. I serve the One Lord, and not any other. || 2 || I do not perform Hindu worship services, nor do I offer the Muslim prayers. I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart; I humbly worship Him there. || 3 || I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim. My body and breath of life belong to Allah - to Raam - the God of both. || 4 || Says Kabir, this is what I say: meeting with the Guru, my Spiritual Teacher, I realize God, my Lord and Master. || 5 || 3 || [GGS:1136]

18: Bhupinder Singh Mahal (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), June 23, 2018, 10:50 AM.

The term “South Asian” was coined sometimes during the 1980’s. The genesis of the term was conceived in the social sciences department of universities by no other than Indian academicians. The establishment of Sikh Chairs post-1984 so enraged the Indian consular community that they egged on the Indo-Canadian academicians for the institution of Hindu Chair. The first of its kind, the chair in Hindu Studies was established in 1989 at Concordia University. However, efforts to establish endowed chairs in Hindu Studies at other Canadian universities met resistance as the rising clamor for endowed chairs by Bangladeshi, Tamil, Sri Lankan - to name a few – mounted. In this state of confusion and uncertainty the Indo-Canadian academicians saw opportunities. They felt creating programs of South Asia Studies was more appealing, hence South Asian formed the basis of the new lexicon.

Comment on ""

To help us distinguish between comments submitted by individuals and those automatically entered by software robots, please complete the following.

Please note: your email address will not be shown on the site, this is for contact and follow-up purposes only. All information will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Sikhchic reserves the right to edit or remove content at any time.