Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the News...

My religion (Sikhism) and the President's scheduled trip to our most holy temple in India has recently been in the news. It is difficult for me to use words to even capture the significance of what the Golden Temple symbolizes for Sikhs. It is a site of great religious and historical importance for Sikhs. Thousands of Sikhs and Non-Sikhs alike from India and all over the world come and visit this temple daily. It is built in the middle of a pool of water and is covered in gold. It is absolutely beautiful. Whenever I go, I find such peace and serenity there - it is truly majestic.

The gist of this issue in the news is that President Obama's camp is not satisfied with the forms of head covering he must wear during his visit for how it will make him appear and what it will look like to the outside world and America. When one enters any Sikh place of worship (gurdwara) including the Golden Temple, their heads must be covered while in the presence of our holy scriptures called the Guru Granth Sahib. President Obama only has 4 days scheduled to be in India. Of those 4 days, he is scheduling a trip to visit the Golden temple, the only religious visit he is making. However, Obama's camp fears that he will look too Muslim if he covers his head with a headscraf or skullcap. They feel it is not a good political move in light of political sensitivities around the world and in the United States regarding rumors of him having Muslim beliefs despite the fact that he is openly a very devout Christian which he has stated time and time again. His head must be covered but a baseball cap falls short of regulations and appears insulting. 

MY THOUGHTS: I am saddened that this is even an issue that would prevent our President from visiting a respected shrine of the world. I'm not sure why limited suggestions like a headscarf, skullcap or baseball hat are being considered as the only options to cover his head. Plenty of sojourners that come off the streets pretty much will tie a handkerchief on their head or a bandana and that is completely acceptable. I am also shocked that it is cited that about 20% of the American population "suspect" the President is Muslim by citing that his middle name is Hussein and mentioning his Kenyan heritage. He is a publicly devout Christian and shouldn't be bothered about his religion. It is absurd to me that American citizens waste time debating about whether the President is muslim or not. Even if he was, so WHAT. His religious affairs are his business, his private concerns that no one should be second guessing or speculating about. Moreover, even if he "appeared to be Muslim" (which I just loathe the connotation that gives off since it shouldn't even matter if he appears Muslim or not), ANY person regardless of religion, race or creed is welcome into the Sikh Golden Temple and would never be ostracized or shunned away in any manner. The place where the temple sits - Amritsar, Punjab - is VERY close to the border of India and Pakistan and it would not be odd to see any person of the Muslim faith entering the Golden Temple (at least I hope not). Last, I am disappointed that the President's camp didn't have the foresight to have known to address this issue BEFORE scheduling a trip to the Golden Temple. I can imagine how many Sikhs were so excited and now just disappointed. It would be an honor to have the American Present visit our holiest of temples as should HE feel honored and blessed to be in such a sacred place that is special to SO many Sikhs in India as well as the Diaspora. If his trip is cancelled, it would be a disappointment to say the least. The President would be missing out for an issue which has many solutions.

Here are some pictures of the Golden Temple:
during the day.
At night.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very beautiful temple. I'm sorry there is so much hurtful debate going on.

    But on a much less significant topic, I love your clever dollar store wreath-I never would have thought to use those bath sponges for anything besides scrubbing and maybe painting...

    Drummer Hoff is best loved for it's rhyme and illustrations...I think there is some debate over it's symbolism, but I never picked up on that until I googled it to see what year it won the caldecott-1968 during Vietnam-interestingly enough, the book ends when the canon goes off and everyone dies. but it's a kids book, and the colors/textures are interesting enough that they don't pick up on the mortality.

    i'm getting hungry for that your fault? did I see a recipe a few moments ago? to find something to put in my mouth...

    nice to meet you, candy!