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Contemporary Sikh Issues

Publisher: Hemkunt-Publishers
Authors: Nirmal Singh
ISBN-13: 9788170103974
Page: 212
Format: paperback
Language: english
Product Code: SPE212
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Preface of The Book 'Contemporary Sikh Issues'

This book is an anthology of five Articles of varying lengths that touch upon some of the issues that are of concern to Sikhs and Sikhi in the contemporary context. The subjects include Social Activism, Status of Women, Tradition of Bearing Arms, the emerging issue of Same Sex Unions and the Sikh search for closure to the 1984 Pogrom committed so egregiously against them with the complicity of ruling political elite, government officials and the police.

Let me talk of the last Article first. As I am writing this Preface, the TV is abuzz with the breaking news of the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar while the other five accused have been held guilty.

The agony and suffering of the widows is to be seen to be believed. They have gone through the most harrowing experiences of so many of their male family members being burnt alive, with no sense of closure thus far. Yet these women on whom the burden of bringing up the kids and taking care of the infirm and elderly befell, stoically carried out their responsibility all these 29 years.

The paper on the subject is a sincere search for closure, for sanity to be brought back. Ponder over it and over the suffering of so many others similarly placed the world over and lend your voice to applaud the helpless who continue to contribute to peace and harmony in societies that have been and are apathetic to their plight.

The 1984 Pogrom should not have had any gender connotation but the perpetrators, by targeting Sikh males, effectively turned it into a crime against women who have suffered the consequences for close to thirty years. Another gender issue that I have tried to explore is the status of women in the Sikh precepts, history and contemporary Sikh living. This does present some interesting insights and developments. One more gender linked issue is about the ongoing global debate about the same sex relations and transgender issues. This is a largely new and unexplored subject that is also not easy to write about but I tried to respond to an emerging need for us to create a resource that -can help in developing our responses.

Another similar attempt relates to the current US debate of Gun Violerice and the American love for right to bear arms. My attempt again was to put together a Sikh perspective on the subject that could be used by our activists to articulate their position in civil rights and interfaith meets. While the treatment could provide a useful bibliographic resource, it has also thrown up interesting insights into some parallels between the American and the Sikh tradition on bearing arms and their different trajectories over time.

The last [first in the book] article looks at the contemporary state of Sikh social activism. Sikhs have a very vibrant seva tradition but our analysis tends to suggest that there are so many areas of social activism where we still have to venture into. The Sikh ideal of an altruistic life that Gurus so much commended can only be achieved if we continually keep on responding to the emerging social needs in a fast changing world.

All the issues that have been discussed in the book have one thing in common - these all look at the specific facets of our interface with the society. Most of my search has been to explore the live relationship between Sikhi and Sikh living and I am in the process of trying to initially club my writings on various facets of this search in a web site titled Sikhs & Society, presently under construction. It is towards that objective that this book is presented as Sikhs & Society Series I. My hope is you find the time reading the book well spent. Do share your views, comments and suggestions. I can be reached by email at

30 April, 2013

Nirmal Singh New Cumberland, PA Camp New Delhi


About the Author 'Nirmal Singh' of 'Contemporary Sikh Issues'

Nirmal Singh is associated with several educational, inter-faith and multicultural activities & initiatives to promote wider understanding about Sikhs and Sikhism. He has been profiled among Community Profiles at Sikh Foundation. He was the first Sikh invited to offer opening prayer at PA Senate in 2008. His articles have been published in the Sikh Review, Sikh Studies and Comparative Religion, Abstract of Sikh Studies, mainstream media and several web magazines.

Recipient of lndus Award- 2004 awarded to "luminaries in the New England's South Asian community who shine at what they do," the citation saying "through activism and writing, he is helping, in his way, to tip the scale ·of religious tolerance toward healing, inclusion and understanding."

Author of five books relating to Sikhs & Sikhi, an area of his significant interest is to explore the pattern of contemporaneous Sikh engagement with important societal issues in diverse settings and attempt to carve out options that while rooted in Sikh thought, tradition, experience and current religious codes and praxis, may serve as credible resource for making decision choices. This book presents some such subjects of varying complexities. 


Table Of Contents Of The Book  'Contemporary Sikh Issues' By 'Nirmal Singh'

  Preface 7
1. Sikh Social Activism   
  Ruminate, No Talk, No Walk 11
2. Women & Sikhs  
  In Theology and Praxis 38
3. Gun Violence & Freedom to Bear Arms  
  A Sikh Perspective 66
4. Same Sex Marriages & LGBT Issues  
  A Sikh Perspective 93
5. Sifting the Dust of 84 Pogrom for Some  
  Positives 146
  Naanak Satheeaa Jaaneeanih J Birehae Chott  
  Celebrating the Resolve Of Survivors &  
  Humanity Of Those Who Helped  
  Index 211


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