The Aussie Sikh family living a Jedi lifestyle

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Aussie Jedi lifestyle – Photo: Ying Ang / British Journal of Photography
By Studio 1854 | BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY |

On the 19th of December (20th of December in the US), the Skywalker saga will reach its epic finale with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ahead of its release, Star Wars Families presented by eBay, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, sees 10 photographers document families around the world as they each share their own Star Wars story.

Amarjit Singh was the one who initiated his family into a love of the Force. “The first time I watched Star Wars was when it initially came out in 1977. It just blew us apart,” he describes. “It was beyond its time. I just fell in love straight away, and it’s been a part of our lives ever since.” The films are a mainstay of Singh family life. “All of the recent movies that have come out, we watch a few times,” says Updesh, “but the first time is always as a family.”

The Singhs are a Sikh family living in Melbourne. Amarjit, 57, is a nurse; his wife, Gurmit, works for a textiles company; his children, Kirtan, 20, and Updesh, 23, both work in retail. Updesh has just completed her studies in psychology and Kirtan is pursuing a degree in education, which he hopes to switch to media. Together, they share a love for the galaxy far, far away.

There are parallels in the power of the Force and the religion practised by the family. “The practices of the Jedi and the lifestyle of the Jedi is what a Sikh is also,” says Amarjit. “The Jedi look after the downtrodden, defend the defenceless, do no harm, and that is what a Sikh is all about. A Sikh is not only about himself, but looking after his community, his friends, his family and his neighbourhood.”

Kirtan agrees, finding strength and lessons in Star Wars as well as his faith. “The values that I take from the Jedi help me in real life, in my religion,” he says. “Whenever I was dealing with racism, the practice of the Jedi would always come into mind, and I would know not to pursue any anger or take any vengeance upon someone else. It’s always better to be calm and respectful, and Star Wars helped me in that.”

Just as Amarjit passed down a love of Star Wars, he also passed down the teachings of his faith. Kirtan therefore recognises the dynamic between Yoda and Luke in his own relationship with his father. “I could really compare it to almost any master and apprentice on the Jedi side of things,” he says. “My dad is always doing interfaith work; it is always inspiring, always helpful, especially because I’m doing that work as well. I’m being trained in what I should be doing when I’m older with the future generations, with my kids. In the same way, Yoda trains Luke in the teachings that he knows.”

Ying Ang, the photographer assigned to shoot the commission, says: “I found the Singh family powerful in their spirituality, humor and service to their community. My experience with them was a warm meeting of minds and souls.”

See full story, ‘The Sikh family living a Jedi lifestyle: Star Wars Families in Australia’ (British Journal Photography, 5 Dec 2019), here

Do you have your own Jedi lifestyle story? Do share!

 

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