Saturday, November 12, 2005

Caste a load of Tripe

Last year at Sikh Society we use to hand out literature called caste is BULL. It was about how caste has no place in Sikhism. How true is that, “caste is bull.” Its funny I never thought about it much never came up in convocation my family was never bothered. I remember one day was working with dad and someone came in and something about caste came up I then asked my dad who explained finishing iwith but we don’t believe in caste. So typically went in one ear came out the other.

The second generation of caste, our generation and new caste system. It seems our generation who are growing up and will be getin married soon have created there own caste system based on universities and education. We wanta marry someone from a certain area doing a certain degree, with 1:1 etc. this is just as bad as the old one. I’m sorry but how does a university and degree tell you what that persons like, what there rehit is like anything?

Its funny how we push caste on to our children on to each other yet call our selves amritdharhi and pretend to follow a katharvad form of rehit. I mean its stupid and insulting tell you the truth. We can find so many references from gurbani and Sikhi history as well as Sikh customs which we carry out everyday which get rid of the caste element.

In day to day life we go to gurdwara sit in sangat and eat. One purpose of langar was having everyone of every caste sitting together on one platform. When we take amrit we are not asked caste, we are told u are now part of khalsa panth. We are told by panj our mother is Mata Sahib Kaur and Pita Guru Gobind Singh Ji. How can we then say we are brothers and sisters yet point finger and say I am higher caste.

When we take amrit of kandai di paul, Panj Pyarai send that same batha to everyone ansuring everyone gets everyones jooth. Believing in caste you can therefore not take amrit as some castes are considered untouchable. Therefore to enforce caste and call you self amritdharhi you are insulting you mother and father and khalsa panth.

Today caste doesn’t make sense anyway we use to use it to say what job we do, etc. the son would do same job as the father. I mean come on we refer to our selves as being caste of farmers when we live in London with a in a flat on 4th floor with a plant pot in the window, not much of a farmer no more.

Belittling the Caste-System
Guru Nanak Dev disparagingly condemned caste-prejudices. To do away with this social malady he set an example. He visited Bhai Lalo an 'out-caste', and both had their meals together, giving a shocking surprise to the village-folk. Moreover, Mardana, the life-long companion of Guru Sahib was minstrel, coming from 'low-caste'.

Bhagat Naamdev Jee talks about how he was treated.

This Shabad is by Bhagat Naam Dev Ji in Raag Malaar on Anng 1292

ਮਲਾਰ ॥
ਮੋ ਕਉ ਤੂੰ ਨ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ਤੂ ਨ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ॥
ਤੂ ਨ ਬਿਸਾਰੇ ਰਾਮਈਆ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਆਲਾਵੰਤੀ ਇਹੁ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਜੋ ਹੈ ਮੁਝ ਊਪਰਿ ਸਭ ਕੋਪਿਲਾ ॥
ਸੂਦੁ ਸੂਦੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਰਿ ਉਠਾਇਓ ਕਹਾ ਕਰਉ ਬਾਪ ਬੀਠੁਲਾ ॥1॥
ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥
ਏ ਪੰਡੀਆ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਢੇਢ ਕਹਤ ਤੇਰੀ ਪੈਜ ਪਿਛੰਉਡੀ ਹੋਇਲਾ ॥2॥
ਤੂ ਜੁ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾਲੁ ਕਹੀਅਤੁ ਹੈਂ ਅਤਿਭੁਜ ਭਇਓ ਅਪਾਰਲਾ ॥
ਫੇਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਦੇਹੁਰਾ ਨਾਮੇ ਕਉ ਪੰਡੀਅਨ ਕਉ ਪਿਛਵਾਰਲਾ ॥3॥2॥

Please do not forget me; please do not forget me,
please do not forget me, O Lord. 1Pause
The temple priests have doubts about this, and everyone is furious with me.
Calling me low-caste and untouchable, they beat me and drove me out; what should I do now, O Beloved Father Lord? 1
If You liberate me after I am dead, no one will know that I am liberated.
These Pandits, these religious scholars, call me low-born; when they say this, they tarnish Your honor as well. 2
You are called kind and compassionate; the power of Your Arm is absolutely unrivalled.
The Lord turned the temple around to face Naam Dayv; He turned His back on the Brahmins. 32

Today we are the pandits who look down at other Sikhs because they do not follow samerehit. If there is a mona respect him/her become there friend you never know when your influence may inspire them to think about Sikhi and where they are. Dont be the pandit that says to there children they are amritdharhi on one hand and on the other says you can only marry into a certain caste. Dont be a hypocrite! Marriage is about joining of two souls in Sikhi, having permenant sangat for rest of your life, to me it is anyway. We still look at caste when it comes to marriage. Here are some quotes from Gurbani to think about...

This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Maaroo on Anng 1035
ਨਾਰਿ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਜਨਮਾ ਨਾ ਕੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਦਾ ॥4॥
naar purakh nehee jaath n janamaa naa ko dhukh sukh paaeidhaa 4
There was no female or male, no social class or caste of birth; no one experienced pain or pleasure. 4

This Shabad is by Guru Amar Daas Ji in Raag Bhairao on Anng 1127
ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰੀਅਹੁ ਕੋਈ ॥
jaath kaa garab n kareeahu koee
No one should be proud of his social class and status.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬਿੰਦੇ ਸੋ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਹੋਈ ॥1॥
breham bi(n)dhae so braahaman hoee 1
He alone is a Brahmin, who knows God. 1

ਜਾਤਿ ਕਾ ਗਰਬੁ ਨ ਕਰਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਗਵਾਰਾ ॥
jaath kaa garab n kar moorakh gavaaraa
Do not be proud of your social class and status, you ignorant fool!

ਇਸੁ ਗਰਬ ਤੇ ਚਲਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਵਿਕਾਰਾ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
eis garab thae chalehi bahuth vikaaraa 1 rehaao
So much sin and corruption comes from this pride. 1Pause

This Shabad is by Bhai Gurdaas Ji in Vaars Bhai Gurdaas on Pannaa 5
ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਵਰਨ ਅਵਰਨ ਹੋਇ ਰੰਗ ਸੁਰੰਗ ਤੰਬੋਲ ਪਰਚੈ॥
guramukh varan avaran hoe ra(n)g sura(n)g tha(n)bol parachai
Gurmukhs go beyond the castes, colours and go about in equanimity like the red colour of betel leaf.

ਭੇਖ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਨਾਹਿ ਮਮ ਵਰਣ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਨਾਹਿ ॥ ਰਹਿਤ ਪਿਆਰੀ ਮੋਹ ਕੋ ਸਿਦਕ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਆਹਿ ॥45॥
bhaekh piaaraa naahi mam varan piaaraa naahi rehith piaaree moh ko sidhak piaaraa aahi 45
I have not love for appearances or for high castes. It is discipline that I love.

This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Anng 349
ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
jaanahu joth n pooshhahu jaathee aagai jaath n hae 1 rehaao
Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter. 1Pause

To me Sikhi isn't about social caste, colour, creed, its about pyar vaheguoo, for each other. Its about naam, bani, rehit. Its about your jeevan, rehit helping others. Live a Gursikhi jeevan, be inspired and inspire others.

"Kindness knows no defeat, caring has no end and touching peoples hearts is theonly language God knows."



Soul Sikher said...

wow. powerful post.

caste wouldn't be a problem if we all lived and practiced gursikhi jeevan - as we would all be socially equal and share the same lifestyle, values and culture.

however, the majority of people who say they are sikhs dont follow gursikhi jeevan and hence they find problems with marrying other "castes". a jatt who isn't practicing gursikhi jeevan and gurmat may say i don't want to marry a khatri because there culture is different to ours. a lohaar who is isn't practicing gursikhi jeevan and gurmat, may say i don't want to marry a tharkhaan because our values and lifestyle are different.

People like convenience and hence marry people who share a like-minded mentality, values, and lifestyle. We need to ask ourselves are we living a Gursikh lifestyle, with Gursikh values and mentality? If yes, then considering caste background in marriage seems bizzare and unnecessary!!

If you are more of your 'caste-label' then a sikh, there you may find issues in marriage.

food for thought.

rsingh said...

thats a great point Jee. Thank you for sharing. the next day we where talking about this at Panjabi Radio on sweet Sikhi as we talked about Guru Nanak Sahib Ji and how he rejected caste when he rejected the Janu.

Guroo Rakha, may Guroo Jee bless us with Gursikhi jeevan.

Anonymous said...

nice article