Broken families

If you were seriously ill and went to see a doctor who prescribed you medication, would your doctor to be at fault if you didn’t take the prescribed medication?

Historically in Indian culture we have had the notion of strong leaders which were typically men, and the role of the female was to support this leader as the unsung hero which kept the fabric of the family and the culture intact. As India became independent and broke away from the British Raj the opportunities in a broken northern India made travelling west more appealing for greater opportunities. Punjabi’s migrated to places like the United Kingdom, America, Canada and Africa. Bringing with them their values and ideology of what it means to be a Sikh.

Our grand parents left the security of their homeland to build and develop a strong foundation for us today, I say this with great pride and humility. They faced many obstacles including racism which meant prioritizing and assimilating to a western school of thought. It may be because of their insecurities that we have lost touch with what it means to be a sikh in the western world. The outlook on sikhism that we have today would have been given to us by our parents. The way in which we are taught sikhism is through our families (Singh Jasjit, 2012).

When our grand parents assimilated with the west, naturally they needed to give something up in order to “fit in”. Do we still have the same belief? I would argue that we do and that this has led to unrest and lack of joy in our lives.

Our ancestors observed the west and the happiness among members of the family and reflected on why they could not replicate the same. Our parents, grand parents sought way’s (which contradicted sikhism) to emulate what the west had achieved. Many of these western concepts, which still exists in our community today have been correlated with increased psychological problems such as depression, increased stress, and substance abuse (Hess Peter, 2016).

We need leader’s not men in our families, unity in the home is as important as understanding each others personalities and characteristics as well as being taught core values that have been outlined by Sikh guru’s.

What do I value?

Perhaps we look outwards to other families who are wealthy and successful in building a happy family because we have not been able to find that in our own families who may be devout and religious, when a family subscribes to a common set of core beliefs is when they can keep each other in check.

Focus on the bigger picture, marriage is a unification of souls to feed a goal which is much bigger than two people. This essentially means marriage is not to only to unify assets but about, being passionate in helping other’s by leveraging the opportunities which have been given to us and to not become engrossed in the falsities of wealth. Happiness cannot be obtained If our only aim in life to to live comfortably in a big house.

Lets love not for the sake of loving but for the betterment of society – to build something together, strengthen each others values, and through that hardship of building something together, whilst staying on the same team, whilst keeping your core values in tact is what will spawn eternal true love. Make no mistake this can come from anywhere, your brother, mum or dad. Marriage is simply a unification of values to build a better future for humanity/society.

What a lot of people fail to see is what has been highlighted above is Satguru Amar Das Ji’s vision on marriage as a construct.

ਇਸੁ ਭੇਖੈ ਥਾਵਹੁ ਗਿਰਹੋ ਭਲਾ ਜਿਥਹੁ ਕੋ ਵਰਸਾਇ ॥
Instead of wearing these beggar’s robes, it is better to be a householder, and give to others.

Satguru Amar Das Ji • 587

This vision is so beautiful and it is very disheartening when we come across young sikh’s who have become detached from and rebel against these values and this culture because they associate Sikhi to misogyny, cast-ism, toxic masculinity and non-achievement. We as a community are responsible for these associations not Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The notion that charity begins at home could not be more relevant, and only once we have come to terms with our true self can we look to help members in our family, community, society and beyond.

Many of the issues we face today where there is no bond or cohesion between parents and a lack of love between families is down to the fact that we have forgotten the basic tenants of Satguru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings. It is when we make our goals selfish to our own agenda that we disassociate from sikhism and encounter hardships and rifts in family spheres.

Every home has its own politically complex landscape with associated challenges but it is our role as sikh to call out the truth as the truth and a lie as a lie.

This is by no means an innovative discussion or topic, where innovation will comes from is when we let go of our stubbornness/’Akarr’ and act upon important issues that challenge our families. By disassociating from the truth we are only delaying the inevitable, self doubt and a sense of worthlessness. There is a great article written by Darius Foroux who explains that the purpose of life is not happiness, but rather usefulness.

Sikhism is something which existed before time itself and it will exist beyond the universe. Satguru Gobind Singh Ji gave those who believed in ‘Dharam’, a certain lifestyle, an institution called the Khalsa.

The Khalsa took birth to fight oppression and terror, back then it was physical and violent. We as the Khalsa still have a duty to help, support and protect those that cannot do it for themselves. Maybe not in the raw sense of killing oppressors/butchers, but instead to subscribe to a notion that I/you will be able to achieve peace and happiness in my family through sikhism.

Live a life of usefulness and gratitude, we have been prescribed a path by Satguru Nanak Dev Ji which transcends any institution or religion, and it’s our responsibility to recognize what we value in life and make that our goal.

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