08 January 2010
CHARDI KALA: A BATTLE PLAN
All my life - I'm 57 - I have heard that the Sikh Panth is in danger. This seems to be a Sikh fixation, just as each generation in the larger human community bewails the morals, music and mores of the younger generation. I wonder if each generation is really worse than the preceding. I do not know.
Let me return to us Sikhs. Is this a realistic assessment? Is the Sikh Panth really in danger? Yes and yes, again! Always! Each generation needs to be vigilant at sending forward the true teachings of our beloved Guru jis to the next generation. Should that not occur, whole Panth would collapse and disappear into history. It won't though. There will always be a certain critical mass of Khalsas who will determinedly carry on.
This generation, my generation, has a seemingly unique problem in Sikh history. Probably because of the violence of 1984 against us followed by the Years of Terror in Punjab when so many of our young people, especially our young, Amritdhari men and boys, were incarcerated, murdered or simply disappeared, we seem to have lost our chardi kala. This is just "seems." It is not lost; it is merely sleeping. I believe it is time we wake it up and teach our children and grandchildren the "Joy of Sikh." Enough of our gloomy faces! I remember the Sikhs as a joyful, laughing nation in the pre1984 days. As those of you who know me know, I have as much cause as anyone to drag around, hanging my head, never smiling and certainly never laughing. My dear sisters and brothers, I am not suggesting that we forget this Third Ghalughara, I am suggesting that the best way to honour our shaheeds from this era is to live our lives to the fullest, joyfully, as I believe we Sikhs are meant to.
This is my battle plan: Let each of us, each day before we begin our daily tasks, resolve to be encouraging to each person, and especially each Sikh, we meet. A smile on the face actually makes you feel better. This attitude of cheerfulness is contagious. Imagine if only 10% of Sikhs did this, at first, how it could spread through the Panth as we remember or discover how great it feels to live in chardi kala! OK, I know this might sound silly or unrealistic, but I know at least one person other than myself has committed to this. Let us try it. What have we got to lose - except our continuing hang-dog depression?
All illustrations are from Flickr Creative Commons, a couple have been doctored by me. To see the original, click on the title.