September 23, 2006

I have no religion

I was born in a Sikh family. For most people that make me a Sikh automatically. Don't we have a choice? I know I can convert to any religion. But would that mean I have a choice. Yes, in this context it certainly means I have a choice (Thank God I am not living in a BJP ruled state). But somehow, that, still does not give me right to declare that I don't have any religion. There are so many situations where I am required to tell my religion. That works on the premise that I have a religion for sure. That is one thing that, along with caste in India, is given.
The questions were rekindled after reading Khushwant Singh's weekly column in Hindustan Times today. "I don’t miss having any religion," says Khushwant Singh. That should be emphatic enough statement to those who insist on identifying him with the religion of the family he was born into. It’s interesting to see what makes people identify him as a Sikh, besides, of course, the fact of his being born into a Sikh family. Much of that would come in the realm of semiotics. Khushwant Singh points out to one sign that he enjoys listening to good kirtan. But that, he emphasises, is his "emotional legacy". So if Khushwant Singh comes across as a Sikh despite his assertion on many occasions that he is an agnostic, is because of his emotional legacy. No quarrel with that. But I am still left with a question do I get to be acknowledged as not belonging to any religion? For me it is a simple fact that I have no religion which, in effect, mean I am not a Sikh. Does that make me a lesser human being? Going by what people are doing in the name of different religions, that should be an ideal choice for, at least, some of the people. For me, it's not a matter of choice, by the way. 'No Religion' is something I was born with actually.

1 comment:

Parminder Singh said...

Gurfateh ji

Sikhi does not come with birth, nor it is birth-based. Sikhi has to be earned by listening, adhering to, and implementing all that is told by Guru Sahib.

A person born to Sikh parents does not necessarily become a Sikh. It is upto one whether one wants to be one or not. Similarly, a person born to non-Sikh person is a Sikh if he/she walks on the path shown by Guru Sahibaan, and accepts the terms of being a Sikh.

In my opinion, Sikhi is not birth-oriented, and blessed are those who are born to Sikh parents as they get a chance to have a closer look at Sikhi. (It is another thing if they do not make an attempt.)

Parminder Singh