Saturday, December 10, 2011
Navjeet Singh Sandhu
Hello and Happy Saturday!
I wish to thank Malwina for her very interesting interview of last week.
Thanks so much for sharing with us Malwina!
Today we have a new interview so please welcome Navjeet Singh Sandhu. Navjeet is a Sikh and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!
Here Is Navjeet Singh Sandhu's Introduction:
Navjeet Singh Sandhu, aka NSS Bohd an engineer by profession. Whatever time he finds away from machines he dedicates it to writing literature and loves to be called as a writer. He believes love, laughter, literature makes you happy, healthy and holy.
Contact him on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1164547747
1)What religion do you practice?
It’s called Sikhism. It has got a name for the sake of being called something. Otherwise, to practice you need to live the way a human is. I practice it being socially humane. Followers are called Sikhs.
2)Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was raised in it.
3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox, conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
As my personal opinion, there’s no such differencing. It’s just the terminology used by politicians (at least in case of Sikhs) to segregate the people to fulfill political motives. We have just Sikhs: who are never ready to hear anything; second, Sikhs who are never heard. In general, our religion is very liberal and so are most of the followers.
4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I’m a liberal, too. It’s not the question of choosing. The principles of Sikhism are so that the outlook of the followers becomes liberal.
5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
We cremate our dead. We have the concept of reincarnation. We believe that you do reap as you sow. So you have to eat the fruit of your seed. We believe in karma. That’s why Sikhs pay their taxes regularly!
Heaven and Hell are explained as per our religion as do exist but they are not separate places, they are in this world only. You have everything, nice income, healthy family, satisfactory living, good mannered and disciplined children. You are not an addict. You are in heaven. Else, you are moving towards hell. No good children, wife in hospital, you doing a regretful job, have no peace of mind, need pills to sleep, can’t live a day without medics. Then what state are you in other then hell? It’s just that you don’t know that you are in hell.
6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
I think I have answered it already.
7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
It’s natural. Liberal. Explanatory. It’s conceptualized on the Creator itself. Not on a individual name of God, or a form of God or a way of realizing God. Or a race or language.
8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Going to a Gurudwara Sahib (sikh temple) is a daily routine of a Sikh. We celebrate many holy days and we follow our normal routine on these days. We celebrate the historical events/days as our holy days. The motive is to keep the people aware of the history, to make children understand the concepts of Sikhism by telling them examples from past.
9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Of course, I have many friends who are Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists. I have friends who are atheist or agonistic as well. Sikhs are very welcoming people. The foundation stone of the most sacred place of the Sikhs: Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple, Amritsar ) was laid by a muslim priest Hazrat Mian Mir in 1588 (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_temple#Construction_of_the_Harmandir_Sahib )
In 1675, the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, gave his head to save the Hindu priests of Kashmir ( a province of India). ( refrence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Tegh_Bahadur#Death )
So being friendly and helpful to people of other faiths is no issue with Sikhs. We have the concept of free kitchen (free food, called langar ) in which we serve free food to people of all religions and races without any discrimination.
10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes, indeed Sikhs all over India celebrate many Hindu festivals with full zeal and vigor. I was used to do that in my residential school. Celebrating a festival, is being happy when your acquaintances are happy is in no way giving away your identity. Sikhism teaches to accept everything that is no harm to identity.
11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Every religion has its rules. I’m lucky, mine has very less. Humanity or killing human rights is not a rule and can never be in a religion. Mis-interpretors are every where, I think there are too many in the world of Islam. If you are talking of French law, I have no objection against it. As per Shariah law, the place where I belong to is not under the influence of such laws so speaking on a topic which one is fully aware of is not a wise decision.
12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
Yes, they are. Equality of every kind is a principle of Sikhism. Equality of gender has been widely accepted in Sikhism from the very beginning of Sikhism. In fact we have many Gurudwaras (Sikh Temples) in the name of Sikh women of importance in history.
13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
Every religion has a separate worship place and so does Sikhism. It doesn’t segregate me in any sense from my social or other aspects of life.
14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
All things that are said to go with a ‘simple living’ are permissible in my religion. Till date I have not lost any opportunity of work because of my religion.
15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
Even I don’t have any problem in marrying outside my religion. Marriage is an association of two souls. In India, Sikhs have a very high rate of inter religion marriage.
16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No, no. If anyone is not doing right things he will feel living in a hell. Hell / Heaven are not faith dependent. They are ‘work’ dependent as I already explained.
17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who
in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
You don’t have to believe a politician speaking of religion or on religious issues. Rest, religion is considered a very personal subject. Someone’s attitude towards a specific religion is not a considerable issue.
18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
Never, not at all. Infact, as a child I practiced my religion out of pride, not out of understanding. Slowly and gradually things changed.
20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
I suppose I have answered this already.