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ASIAN HUMANITIES - Research Paper Example

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The Sikhs’ common identity relates to their meditation or chanting (simran) of the Name (Nam) or the Truth (Sat) which denoted God’s total…
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Download file to see previous pages This reinforced Guru Nanak’s conviction in the importance of man and his fate rather than any metaphysical doctrine which classified and segregated people according to a caste system. In the early casteless Sikh community, lower caste Hindus and those considered as “untouchable”, euphemistically termed as Harijans or God’s people were allowed to become members of the Sikh community (Kapoor 5109). However, over time, through the influence of other already- existing religions such as Hinduism where a rigid caste system prevailed, Sikhs became differentiated into castes and sects.
Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the claim that there is no caste system in Sikhism. Caste differentiations in Britain, the existence of lower caste Sikh communities, and the discriminations they have to face will be identified and examined to prove that caste system does exist among the Sikhs.
In the early centuries of its evolution, Sikhism had no differentiation into a hierarchy of caste groups. During the first two hundred years of the Sikh religion beginning from the mid-fifteenth century, a line of Gurus or preceptors guided the community. The tenth in line, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), dissolved the position of the personal Guru, and vested the Gurus’ authority both in the Adi Granth or original book of Sikh scripture, as well as in the Panth or community (Mann 2001). Gradually differentiation into various caste groups emerged in the Punjab in India, the home state of the Sikhs and other Punjabis, and persisted among Sikh communities living in other parts of the world.
At the sub-identity level today, caste forms a major divisive factor in Sikhism. However, the majority of Gurudwaras or Sikh places of worship in Britain belong to the Sikh mainstream composed of Jats, they do not discriminate between ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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