BLOOD: The Elixir of Life

How should Sikhs remember the June 1984 'hamlaa'? Focus on the Sikh tradition that asks us to shed blood not in anger but in order to preserve and contribute to life, says Prof I.J. Singh

0
1447
I.J. Singh | Opinion | 22 May 2016 | Asia Samachar |
The Sri Akaal Takht, an institution started by Guru Hargobind Sahib, was badly damaged in the 1984 attack by the Indian army.
The Sri Akaal Takht, an institution started by Guru Hargobind Sahib, was badly damaged in the 1984 attack by the Indian army.

Think blood: the oceans that were shed over just a few days in 1984.

At the local gurduara, a flyer caught my eye. BLOOD DRIVE to be hosted by a local gurduara. Guru Nanak Darbar of Long Island, in Hicksville, US, will mount a blood drive for a full six hours on a Sunday (22 May 2016) with the cooperation of the American Red Cross.

It caught my eye for many reasons. Primarily because it is not a new idea. Such a drive is noble.

That the Sikhs are doing this fits perfectly with our teachings. It’s also an idea that a few of us pushed forward somewhat fruitlessly in the early years after the massive killings of Sikhs in India on and around the “Operation Blue Star” in early June 1984.

Create a brief handout – like a one page leaflet – that rues the millions of gallons of innocent blood that was shed by India in June 1984. Focus on the Sikh tradition that asks us to shed blood not in anger but in order to preserve and contribute to life.

Akal Takht and courtyard 1860, painted by William Simpson. - PHOT0 / SIKH MUSEUM
Akal Takht and courtyard 1860, painted by William Simpson. – PHOT0 / SIKH MUSEUM

A serious suggestion was pushed forward that we start a yearly blood drive in several cities across the United States. On the same day in early June prevail on many gurduaras in a town to embrace this proposal. Let us see if we can enroll a couple of gurduaras in other major cities of this country in half a dozen different states.

It is not a new idea. A few of us had floated it soon after the events of 1984. But the blood was hot then and the activists divided over the usefulness of what they thought to be a passive activity. Some haphazard initiatives occurred over the years but none that were synchronized and coordinated. Now times have changed.

Know that media coverage is not easy to capture, especially this year in the midst of crazy election cycle. So, do it the first year or two without expecting much notice. Let’s see if we can then enroll gurduaras in Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany, even France and neighboring nations with a significant concentration of Sikhs. Let this evolve into an international movement. This will preserve history and promote a better appreciation of Sikhs and Sikhi.

In a couple of years non-Sikhs and the appropriate media will take notice. Guaranteed.

IJsingh-mugshot

I.J. Singh is a New York based writer and speaker on Sikhism in the Diaspora, and a Professor of Anatomy. This article was dated 16 May 2016. Email: ijsingh99@gmail.com

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

FROM THE SAME AUTHOR:

Khoj Gurbani at two (Asia Samachar, 29 April 2016)

False lure of the past: Lap dogs, watch dogs & attack dogs? (Asia Samachar, 5 April 2016)

When our quirks define us: A parable revisited (Asia Samachar, 10 March 2016)

Questioning faith (Asia Samachar, 26 Feb 2016)

The Fragmented self (Asia Samachar, 28 Jan 2016)

You want to respect Guru, make shabad accessible (Asia Samachar, 14 Jan 2016)

Beyond Chamkaur: Wars, battles and memories (Asia Samachar, 23 Dec 2015)

Vand Chhakna: The Sikh way of sharing & caring (Asia Samachar, 4 Dec 2015)

To remember & to celebrate (Asia Samachar, 10 Nov 2015)

The purpose of life (Asia Samachar, 14 Oct 2015)

On sects and denominations in Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 27 Sept 2015)

Mixed marriages in gurduaras (Asia Samachar, 31 Aug 2015)

The fallen amongst us (Asia Samachar, 22 Aug 2015)

Is Sikhism Turning Into The Superbowl? (Asia Samachar, 4 Aug 2015)

Human savagery & nobility (Asia Samachar, 30 July 2015)

When ignorance is bliss… (Asia Samachar, 24 July 2015)

WORSHIP…Love of God: Greed or Mortal Dread (Asia Samachar, 8 July 2015)

Deras & Babas: Why So Many? (Asia Samachar, 24 Oct 2014)

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY