Sikh student banned from train for wearing kirpan
Sorry to break from my up-to-the-moment health status, but I want to lay something out there about religious tolerance. I love Canada. I love that we are a mixture of cultures. I love that this allows me to travel around the world and have most people like me because they’ve got family in my country or know someone who has. I like that I get to meet people that are not white, were not born in Canada and aren’t Baptist Christians. I also love that there are 2nd or 3rd generation Canadians that still practice their traditional rituals and beliefs. It all just makes the place that much more damn interesting.
However, lines need to be drawn. If you read the news article above you’ll see this man’s argument, and indeed a common argument among Sikh men, is that Sikh tradition has it that they should carry this ceremonial small dagger-like sword.
A typical Sikh Kirpan
Now I admit, multi-cultural country or not, most people in Canada are pretty ignorant about other religions and cultures. This isn’t a phenomenon limited to the white, Christian majority. The truth of it is, most Canadians just stick to their own. However, now freshly educated on the cultural importance of the Kirpan (thanks to The Kirpan in Sikhism by Santbir Singh) I can confidently say that I’m sorry, but it’s time to change the tradition.
I mean, we grasp at tradition like it’s this unchanging rock holding us to our past and our roots. But it’s not. Tradition is created, changed and destroyed as dictated by the culture. That’s how we evolve as residents of the planet.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Kirpan is a weapon, and as this quote shows, one that is to be used to maintain the sovereignty of Sikhs.
The Kirpan is our way of showing to the world that we as Sikhs will never bow down to any state authority. The Sikhs of the Guru recognize only one authority, and that is God. We recognize only one throne, and that is the Eternal Throne of the Timeless one, the Takht Akal Bunga Sahib. Our Kirpans are our passports of freedom.
Americans, with the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution, have a similar Right vs. Reality situation. The simple fact is that should you have a number of people armed at all times you create a state of violence and fear. Humankind has proven countless times that their responsibility with things that can kill is pretty much akin to children not putting things in their mouths.
Now, I’m not attempting to say that Sikhs are going to go out on a wild stabbing spree, and very likely there has never been any incidences of violence occuring in Canada with Sikhs using their Kirpan as a weapon. However, it opens the door to allowing all people to argue “What’s fair for one person is fair for all people.”
So, just as the government, and overwelming majority of the population, in the US has decreed that the ‘right to bear arms’ does not include caring a Glock hand cannon to 4th period history, so should Canada’s ‘freedom of religion’ not override everyone else’s basic freedom of not fearing those carrying large weapons.
Times change, religions and cultures adjust. Get with it. Or perhaps we should also allow Muslims their religious freedom to stone women adulterers to death. Some traditions remind us of the diversity and greatness of our roots, but some have no place in the modern world and there is little need to carry a small sword on a train or into a classroom.
In other news… I’m feeling better, and despite the words of Richard Ashcroft, the drugs do indeed work. The pain in my foot is all but gone and the one in my throat has faded to a dull ache.