Gurmat (Sikhism) and the borderless world


By Ranvir Singh | Opinion |


  • Guru Nanak actively preached to people outside Panjab. He must have spoken languages they understood to communicate with them, for example, Arabic in Baghdad. This has implications for the use of local languages in the diaspora as well as outreach to non-Sikhs.
  • Unlike Jesus who preach in Palestine or the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who lived in Arabia or Buddha who lived in a small section of South Asia Guru Nanak’s mission marks the end of local regions and the beginning of the modern, global world, around 1500. Sikhs should push for an open, global culture.
  • The global message of 1Light, one humanity he promoted is expressed in the Ardas or congregational prayer that ends with a wish for “sarbat da bhalla”, the benefit of the whole world. Boundaries were porous and involved dialogue between 1 and 0 rather than an exclusionary 1 or 0.

Guru Nanak did not recognise any borders and travelled 30,000 miles to places including Tibet, Mecca and Sri Lanka. Waheguru is the owner of the world and we should be free to travel all over it. We should be open to diversity and use it to create fresh combinations.

Dialogue between 1 and 0 is a central idea. 

When Guru Nanak says that, “there is no Hindu, no Muslim” he is rejecting the reduction of a person to a reified subject “Hindu” or “Muslim” as well as the rejection of the outcast and rejected person, “outcaste” or “kaffir”. It is an inclusive vision of dialogue best expressed in the sangat.

Read the full article here.

Writer, activist. Architect para 67 of UN Declaration Against Racism 2001, introduced ‘worldviews’ in UK RE education. PhD International Studies, FCollT, FCIEA. You can follow Ranvir Singh here


We must stop using the term ‘Sikhism’ and assert uniqueness of ‘Sikhi’! (Asia Samachar, 25 July 2021)

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