Kids Corner


Some Reflections On
The Fourth of July:
The U.S. Independence Day -
Janam Da Firangee,
Sikhi Mai Mangee





American politics these days can be very disheartening to the interested observer. However, the Greek philosopher Plato once said: "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

Trump supporters now call anyone who cares about people's health, their housing, their schools, their civil rights, and civil liberties "a socialist."  John F. Kennedy preferred the term "liberal" or "progressive" for such people like himself.

I say once again that I am not an admirer of Nikki Haley.  Her claim of conversion to Christianity was a personal decision on her part and that is that. Being politically ambitious is fine if the motivation has something to do with public service. Her goal is to be a presidential candidate in 2024.  Meanwhile, she is ready and willing to be Trump's spokesperson and "hit man" at the UN, threatening those countries that disagree with Trump policies.

Israel, however, can act with impunity on its crimes against humanity, and continue to get full American support. The president's son-in-law - an Israeli supporter himself - with a mere background in real estate, is in charge of Middle East peace, having no political or diplomatic experience whatsoever. Who really thinks peace can be achieved under this man or given Trump's actions?

Nikki Haley goes on a religious diversity celebration tour in India. Fine!  Would she ever go on a religious diversity celebration tour in her own country suggesting to evangelical Christians that Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs worship the same God they do? I think not.

*   *   *   *   *

Sects and cults, like the deras in Punjab, probably go back as far as the earliest religions of mankind.  People from all socio-economic classes and all walks of life have been attracted to sects and cults dominated by single individuals.  Those attracted to deras, however, are for the most part neither affluent nor influential.

I recently read an insightful article on why some Punjabis are so attracted to deras. The thrust of this essay was that deras hold out a promise of dignity and equality, and they create an intense feeling of belonging. A dera’s baba fosters an idealized, heroic image of himself using spectacle and rallies, which generate flattery and unqualified praise.

The author of the piece suggested that the Sikh commitment to equality and the elimination of caste prejudice has been neglected in some sectors. It has always been a challenge for Sikhs, living in a predominantly Hindu socio-cultural environment, not to be influenced by Hindu discriminatory practices dealing with caste affiliation.

Sikhs can preach “Ik noor te sab jag upjeya” (the entire world is born out of one light) – in other words, the truth, but it had to lead to “truthful living. When everyday people long for comfort and support, traditional clergy and politicians often disappoint them. The notion that a human leader can be worshiped and believed to do no wrong, which is anathema to Sikhs, is quickly swallowed by many dera followers.

When Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the head of ‘Dera Sacha Sauda‘, was convicted of sexual assault and sent to jail, his followers were enraged. Either the complaint was that it was based on Trump-style “Fake News”, or that any and all criminal behavior was acceptable as long as the “promised land” vision remained intact. 

Does Donald Trump’s base care about his history of womanizing, or his fraudulent projects, or his lies, lies and lies? I think not.

As a Sikh-American, I see Donald Trump not so much as president of the United States, but functioning more as the head of a Western dera! 

He has appealed to people who perceive themselves as left out, ignored, and mistreated. Whereas Trump’s critics are offended and become depressed by his antics and policies, they end up unwittingly energizing his idolaters. The latter achieve a high comparable to cocaine and meth amphetamine. The Poor and so-called downtrodden folk support Trump alongside many well-to-do Americans, including some Sikhs, who were just fixated on his pledges of lower taxes and fewer regulations.

Many Christian pastors who became avid Trumpists got on board so as not to lose the financial and moral support of their congregations as well, while also approving of a diminution of the separation of church and state. A Christian theocracy developing in America is fine with them.

Trump’s questionable business practices and sexual behavior, including his three rough marriages, are dismissed as ‘Fake News’ or simply irrelevant to his unique, exciting, pro-white, and pro-evangelical agenda. Trump feels he is entitled not merely to support from his followers, but to adoration.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck – it is a dera!

Trump, of course, sports no distinctive costume like the so-called fake godmen of India’s deras, but does boast a stand-out hairstyle and color choices – a 72 year old “blonde!”

Many pundits have described Trump as irreligious, but in my view he is a cult leader who is idolized by his base. If people think that he will leave office with dignity and grace were he to be defeated in the 2020 election, I fear they are mistaken.

July 4, 2018


Conversation about this article

1: Harmeet Singh (Chicago, Illinois, USA), July 05, 2018, 1:51 PM.

Excellent analysis! Unfortunately, I don't see the Trump dera getting defeated until they start shooting themselves in their own proverbial foot in the trade war.

2: H Singh (USA), July 06, 2018, 1:14 AM.

Donald Trump and Gurmeet Ram Rahim were enabled into power by exploiting a common tactic: at least pretending to care about the average people. Something that has been lost upon mainstream American politicians and the mainstream Sikh establishment in Punjab. Yes, Donald Trump has racist and hateful views, but he went to the American mid-west and actually talked about the jobs people there so desperately needed. This is something a mainstream politician like Hillary Clinton failed to do.

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The Fourth of July:
The U.S. Independence Day -
Janam Da Firangee,
Sikhi Mai Mangee"

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