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Sikh’s and Conflict

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Kelly Alexander 11YA Coursework One - Sikh's and Conflict Part 1 In 1606 Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru was tortured to death. The Mughal ruler had ordered the Guru's arrest and said he would only be allowed to go if he agreed to stop preaching his religion and paid a large fine of 200 000 rupees. To this the Guru said that he could never stop preaching his religion and if he had such a large sum of money he would give it to the poor. The Mughal leader responded by locking the Guru in a cell for three days in the hottest month of May without any food or water. As the Guru had still yet to agree to the demands on the fourth day he was put on a barrel of hot water. This was still not enough to break his resolve so on the fifth day hot sand was poured onto his naked body. On the sixth day he was made to sit on a red-hot iron plate, he still would not give up his belief in religious tolerance. Eventually he was pushed in a river where he drowned. The whole time he was being tortured he did not ask for mercy once, he only repeated God's name and said, "Your will is sweet to me" This is one example of the persecution Sikhs suffered at the time of the Mughal emperors. ...read more.


The kirpan is a small sword that was used for self-defence from the persecution of Muslims. Kashera are white shorts. These were worn to allow greater movement in battle because traditional Indian male clothes made fighting difficult. Finally the kara is a steel bangle and was worn to protect the wrists during battle. Sikhs have continued to wear the five items as a reminder of the persecution Sikhs have been through in the past, and so they remember to stand against any injustices they may observe. Part 2 Some Sikhs find it very hard to be in the Khalsa in the Western society today. However, certain laws and discrimination acts have been enforced to ensure Khalsa Sikhs are treated the same as everyone else. Being a Khalsa Sikh means that you are required to wear the five Ks, kachera, kara, kesh, kangha and kirpan (small sword) although most living in the West accept the law and wear something symbolic instead, like a small symbol on the kangha, wooden comb. For example, the kirpan would create problems when going through customs as it may be classed as an offensive weapon; schools and places of work may also have policies on weapons that could lead to dismissing. Sikhs are now allowed to wear their turbans everywhere in the workplace and at school. Employers are not allowed to tell Sikhs to take them off or refuse jobs because of them. ...read more.


Sikhs are encouraged to defend their faith from a very young age. At the time of the formation of the Khalsa in 1699 Sikhs were forced to defend themselves and their religion against Muslim persecution, as a result Khalsa Sikhs, even today, carry a kirpan, a small sword. Sikhs today view the kirpan as a reminder to stand up for justice. They are taught to verbally (and using other non-violent means) stand against any injustices he/she may observe. They also wear kachera, these are white shorts that were originally worn to allow greater movement in battle because traditional Indian clothing made fighting difficult. Today they are a reminder for Sikhs that you should live a pure and disciplined life. In 1675 the ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred for his belief by the Mughal emperor Aurengzeb. He was killing many Sikhs who refused to accept Islam. When the emperor tried to convert the Guru by threatening torture sand death, the Guru simply replied, "Never seek to intimidate others, nor be intimidated by another's might." The Guru was later tortured and beheaded for his stand on religious freedom. Force has been necessary for Sikhs to establish their right to have religious freedom and establish their standing as an individual religion. For Sikhs peace was created using force and now to continue living peacefully Sikhs need to avoid conflict and do their best to accept other people's ways of life, just as the rest of us do if we want to live peacefully. ...read more.

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