Customs add colour, gaiety to our ever increasingly rat race lives

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Letter | Malaysia | 30 June 2017 | Asia Samachar |

Dear Editor,

Lately we have seen preachers in Sikhism, young and old, decrying age old
traditions linked to our rituals and wedding ceremonies. There are claims that these customs like Mayaa, Mehndi etc have been imported from other religions.

My point: these are traditions which make up the psyche of Sikhs nowadays. Import of ideas and customs from others, occurs in all communities and
religions. These enhance and bring colour and gaiety to our ever increasingly rat race lives.

As long as the core SIKH values are retained and religion is not harmed,
why not. Perhaps some of your enlightened lecturers could shed some light here.

Many thanks

Davin (Dr).
Seremban, Malaysia
19-6-17

 

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

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I concur with Davin and Sarjeet. The younger generation (or sections of them) may have differing outlooks, and that has always been the case. But differing outlooks must be based on sound principles, not on self-beliefs and unproven ideas.

    The older generation must resist being made irrelevant and invisible – else there is no saying how our religion and customs may be wiped out by ignorants and prejudices!

    SS Ludher
    Perth

  2. I agree with Dr Davin. These ‘ceremonies’ do add “colour and gaiety” to the wedding process; attempts to do away with these under the guise that they “have been imported from other religions” is not enough. The ‘deeply religious’ are simply going to make the weddings into sterile events, little different from a registration of marriages.

    Not too long ago, during the actual ‘anand karaj’ some male members of the bride’s family would stand around and ‘guide’ the couple whilst the couple circumambulated the SGGS, whilst some girls threw flower petals on them. Now this is no longer allowed. Seek an explanation and nothing worthy of consideration is forthcoming. These are but some examples of “rituals” removed.

    The key issue should be that the couple, the sanggat and participants in ceremonies, including in the days leading up to the wedding day, understand that these are not religious requirements, but merely cultural vestiges.

    When a friend’s children got married any years ago, he went through all these ceremonies and I acted as a master of ceremonies (MC); at every stage I explained to the couple and the audience that these were simply cultural rituals and had no religious significance, at the same time explaining the origins and reasons behind the rituals. This was not just enjoyable but much appreciated by those in attendance, many of whom were non-Punjabis.

    These vestiges don’t necessarily have to be excised if they cause no harm.

    And whilst I am at it, I might as well add that these ‘purists’ should instead focus on meaningless rituals that were non-existent, at least in Malaysia, until more recent times; examples are our “treatment” of the nishan sahib (the matha tekna, washing in milk, ‘re-clothing’ it every Vaisakhi, etc), the nagar kirtan, etc.

    Dr Sarjeet Singh Sidhu
    Ipoh

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