| Opinion | UK | 21 May 2017 | Asia Samachar |
By Sohan Singh
There has been some discussion about the visit by Boris Johnson- the Foreign Secretary to a Gurdwara where he talked about increased trade between the UK and India, and used Scotch Whisky as an example. We have condemned his speech for mentioning whisky in a Gurdwara. I am not condoning what he has said, and he has apologised for talking about a taboo subject in a Gurdwara.
However we need to look our own behaviour also in accordance with the Guidance in Gurbani:
Fareedaa jae too akal latif kalae likh na laekh.
Aapanarrae gireevaan mae sir neevaa kar daekh. SGGS: 1378 fjtlk
O Farid! If you are of a keen understanding (subtle wisdom, subtle mind), then do not write ill-accounts of others’ misdeeds. Look, instead, into your own heart by lowering your head (and analyse your own actions).
We invite our non-Sikh friends at our weddings where whisky and other hard drinks flow like water. People who drink in moderation are coerced to drink more and more. Politicians are given VIP treatment, never allowed to have their glasses empty. Ask any white person who has been to a Sikh wedding what he liked most – and invariably the answer is – dancing and drinks.
Sikhs own quite a few Off- Licence shops in this country. These are shops that sell alcoholic drinks for consumption elsewhere. Normally the name of the shop is: Singh’s Off-Licence or Surname followed by – ‘s Off-Licence. So what impression are we giving to politicians and non-Sikhs?
According to the media, Boris Johnson apologised after the woman who had criticised him told him that- she had experienced alcohol problems in her family.
Let me end this missive with a light hearted anecdote: While returning back from a wedding, I was asked to sit in a coach reserved for women. The person who asked me to do so explained that I wouldn’t enjoy sitting in the other coach as all the men would be drinking. I was the only one who was teetotal. He also asked a friend who was talking to me when he approached us to give me company. The friend also was fond of drinks but didn’t say anything. And the man who asked us to sit in a different coach? A leading member of a Gurdwara management committee!
[The article first appeared at Gurmat Learning Zone, an email-based Sikh discussion group. Published with permission of author]
Sohan Singh, MA, BSc Hons. CQSW. Sohan Singh is an author of five books, the latest ones being Spiritual Sayings from the Sikh Faith and the Real Purpose of Life. He has worked as a teacher and lecturer in Kenya and as a Treatment Manager for the probation service in the UK.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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Boris Johnson apologises after discussing alcohol in Sikh temple – The Guardian (Asia Samachar, 21 May 2017)
Well done, Pulapol, for alcohol-free Vaisakhi party (Asia Samachar, 29 April 2017)
MSSSC does not encourage, condone alcohol during games (Asia Samachar, 28 June 2016)
Alcohol, Gurdwara and the Cup (Asia Samachar, 28 June 2016)