08 April 2010


My heart is broken - again.

I have been doing my best to stay out of the current controversy that seems to be engulfing the Panth these days.  I refer, of course, to that involving the following elements, stated as succinctly and politely as possible:

Akal Takht
Darshan Singh
Blaspheme (or not)
Dasam Granth
False evidence (or not)

What happened in Brampton/Toronto over the weekend, however, has compelled me to come forward.

Opponents of Darshan Singh and supporters of him were involved in a violent, very public brawl at Sikh Lehar Centre Gurudwara there.  Turbans were torn off, kirpans were drawn and when it was over, Manjit Mangat, President of the gurudwara sahib

was in hospital with stab wounds to the abdomen, thighs and legs and a cut caused by a kara on his face.  There are some pictures at the first link, along with the story.

But, wait!  There is something very wrong here. No one was attacked with a kirpan and no one ever will be. In the very instance that a kirpan is used as an aggressive weapon, it ceases to be a kirpan, an article of faith; it is merely a knife or a dagger or a sword. And the person who wields it ceases to be a Gursikh and becomes a common criminal, a thug.  These thugs must be treated as the criminals that they are.

I realise that this is a distinction that will be lost on the general public, but it must be made here, among us Sikhs. I also realise I am leaving myself open to attack for bluntly stating this, but it is the truth and, I am certain, the opinion of the vast majority of Sikhs who are good, peaceable, law-biding citizens of the respective countries. There are much better ways of resolving our differences, however compelling those differences may be they may be, than stabbing each other with what should be an article of faith.  How many times have we argued that a kirpan is a sacred Article of Faith, never to be used for any purpose aside from defence.  Today, that argument seems a bit hollow. 

Please read the article at the last link above;  pay extra attention to the comments (356 as I write) to see how the nonSikh Canadians are responding.  On the whole, I get the impression that they don't much like us.

I am neither saying nor implying that a kirpan can never be used as a weapon.  I have used mine when there was no other alternative to cut the throat of a member of a mob killing Sikhs during the Delhi Pogrom 1984.

I drew my kirpan recently when there was no alternative in the parking lot of our local WalMart when I was attacked by a career criminal drug addict  trying to steal my "drugs."  (In fact, there was nothing that he could possibly have enjoyed among my medicines, but he didn't know that.)  I held him until the police came without injuring him.

Both of these incidents are recorded in this blog.

Also it cannot be overlooked that a kara was also used as an offensive weapon.  Vaheguru!  Is there no end to this?

Photo of Manjit Mangat from  The Star.com
Kirpan courtesy of Narayanjot Kaur