A sikhs cultural identity

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  • 1. A sikhs cultural identity, enculturation, socialization, and intergration process “SIKH” is not a race. Sikhs are those people who practice the religion ofsikhism or lifestyle and they are also known as “SINGHS”. The state of Punjab islocated between nothern India and southern Pakistan and this is where majorityof the sikh people come from and they can be found almost in all the majorcountries in the entire world such as Singapore , Malaysia , Thailand , Iran , USA ,UK , Germany , Belgium , Kenya , Australia and so on . According to the teachings of my elders a sikh can never be identified bytheir skin colour or DNA testing but all religions do somehow set certain scarceform of basic principles so dear to the founders of their respective faiths.However, the litmus test to identify a sikh is if the following requirements are metby a particullar person or an individual such as faithfullness in believing in the onetrue immortal supreme entity commonly known as GOD by most people in thelanguage of english.
  • 2. The one supreme GOD is known to sikhs in many names such as “AkaalPurakh” meaning the creator, “Waheguru” meaning the great light that dispellsthe darkness or “Har” meaning all everything and many more . Secondly a sikhcan also be identified if he believes in the ten gurus of sikhism from Guru NanakDev Ji sahib to Guru Gobind Singh ji sahib (1469-1708) . Thirdly, a sikh faithfuly believes in the Shree Guru Granth Sahib Ji (bible ofthe sikhs) which is also known as the eleventh guru and it contains all the sikhssacred hymns and revealed words of divinity bequeathed by the tenth guru.Keeping up the unshorn hair, beards, and moustaches with turban on head formales and scarf for the females is a must. This symbolises acceptance towardsnature and great courage . Even if a Sikh dosen`t keep his long hair effect due to cultural assimilation inMalaysia, he or she always wears a steel or iron bracelet on their right hand. Sikhswere brought to Malaysia by the British during their colonial service in Malaysiaas police and soldiers. The first few Sikhs to set foot in Malaya were Nihal Singh(better known as Bhai Maharaj Singh) and Kharak Singh.
  • 3. Later in 1865, it is believed that the process of migration of sikh people intoMalaysia has started again this time involving larger numbers of sikh migration asBritish Empire armed forces. Even if Sikhs are minority in Malaysia, it is normal tosee them working as professionals now for example dentists, doctors, lawyers oreven businessmen. Every society has its own codes of conduct, rules, regulations and normsincluding values . Understanding by now that every culture clearly demarcates thedesirable and undesirable behavior in different social contexts. For example howshould we behave and show respect as a son or daughter, a husband or wife, asbrother or sister, as a nephew or niece, as a host, a guest or as a friend. Everyculture has its own very unique folkways ,norms and expectations towards these. For example we show respect to our elders by calling them in politemanner for example. Let`s say the punjabi word “PHUPER” meaning “uncle “, weare not allowed to call our elders that way but instead we all use a punjabi pollito“JI“ to that word we use to call our elder and it becomes “Phuperji”. This form ofaddresing elders in the punjabi culture is considered very polite and respected.
  • 4. Sikhs greet other people by putting their palms together and simply bowingat about 10 to 20 degrees angle. The meaning of this form of greeting symbolisesour belief that no human has higher or lower ranks in this world and all of us arethe same and we mean no harm to anyone so we peacefully form friendship.These are several such rules with such social norms which differ from society tosociety. Thus, it is clear that an individual should be aware of such social normsand cultural expectations. As we know that the sikh religion was originated in the very continent ofAsia, therefore Sikh culture is a collectivist orientated culture. To the sikhcommunity family and religion comes together in pair, one cannot live withoutthe other. It is stated in the Sikhism holy bible the guru granth sahib that. SaysGod " I am unseenable and there is merely any evidence in this universe thatproofs my existence right, you say that you fear me, you say that you believe inme, you say that you respect me? How are you going to respect me as GOD whenyou cannot even respect my creations which are existing and are much weakerthen you ? you can only respect me when you respect the family relationship that Ihave blessed you with and my very creations " .
  • 5. Therefore according to the sikh religion respecting and prioritising family isvery important to achieve certain degree of spirituality within an individual. A trueSikh must treat everyone good or bad as his own brothers and sisters. This isbecause every human has feelings and should not be judged according to theiractions but by knowing them deep inside. Today the Sikh culture cummunity has became much more advancedcompared to the ones in punjab as most sikhs in Malaysia are into high paidprofessional jobs and have very good communication skills as they are notunilingual but instead multilingual . Malaysian Sikhs are also much more acceptingand adaptive with their surroundings full with other different local cultures andare great in coping with them in terms of food ,clothing , taboos and many more. As a conclusion , Globalisation has brought a lot of changes in manycommunities around the world. But such changes may also bring about extinctionwithin ones culture. There fore we as the modern generation shall adapt to bothmodern and our ancesstric culture so that it may be preserved for the upcomonggeneration.