29 August 2007

My Bad - Reconsidering - Another Link

UPDATE: Those following the story of this young girl will probably interested in going to this link.

Growing up in my Dad's family, one of his strictest rules was to look at an issue from at least two, and usually more, viewpoints before taking a stand. This was much practiced at our dinner table when we would be in a hot dispute about something, anything, and Dad would suddenly shout: 'Switch!' That was the signal to start arguing, with equal vigour, the opposing point of view. His theory was that you couldn't really understand anything, if you didn't understand the other side. And who knows, maybe the other guy will turn out to be right. Narrow mindedness is unSikh.

Another of his strict rules involved kindness. There might be times when kindness is uncalled-for - I think of us in Delhi, for example - but in general, you should be kind. Unnecessary unkindness just adds to the pain in the world and accomplishes nothing positive. And is unSikh.

My last post violated both principals. I saw something and reacted - immediately - purely on an emotional level. I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach, that the dead bodies of my family lying at my feet were being treated as meaningless, in short, I took this whole thing very personally. (If Vini were here, she would never have permitted me to be so harsh.)

Let me be clear: I cannot condone changing one's religion for reasons of expediency, no matter what religion from or to. I think these parents are making a grave mistake. But I do not doubt that their daughter's welfare is their utmost concern. Clearly, she is loved and cherished, as all daughters should be, and her parents are acting from love.

Perhaps their local sangat could send someone who, like myself, survived the tragedy of 1984, who had family members murdered for being Sikh, to talk to them and show them the brilliant jewel that is Sikhi and help them see what it is they are throwing away. These parents need to be taught, not insulted and reviled.

So Mr. B Singh and Mrs. B. Kaur, I apologise for my harsh words. Now please, if you will listen to me, for your own sakes as well as your lovely daughter, reconsider.

To CK, whose comment made me rethink this: I believe that it is very Sikh to stand up and say 'I was wrong.' Thank you for pointing out my misbehaviour. I will be more careful and kind in the future. Mai

(Suni and Vini had nothing to do with that post)