Sikhism becoming global religion: US don

New Delhi: Shedding its tag of being a regional religion, Sikhism is on its way to becoming a global religion, making a major shift in the past 35 years or so, opined Prof Mark Juergensmeyer while delivering the 13th Bhai Chanan Singh Memorial lecture here today.

Prof Juergensmeyer, who has studied Sikhism for the past four decades, is Director, Orfalea Centre for Global and International Studies, University of California, US, chose to speak on “Sikhism as a global religion”.

He said some 35 years ago, Sikhism was a “forgotten religion mentioned in footnotes. In these 30 years, things have changed.” He said the challenges ahead was assimilation with the global order and participation in global society.

There were more Sikhs than Jews in the world, Prof Juergensmeyer said. As of now, 30 per cent of Sikhs resided outside Punjab. “The religion now faces three immediate challenges; cultural adaptation in new lands, transformation, and participation in society globally”.

The time had come when there would be a debate on what were the core values of the religion and what were the cultural values, the professor said as he cited an example. “In gurdwaras in the US, langar (community meal) is laid out on the table for people seated on chairs instead of sitting on the floor, as in India. It is for the community to decide if this is a cultural issue or a core value of the religion,” he said.

He said it was essential to wear the five Ks all the times. “Is it a core value or a cultural value,” the US-based Sikh expert asked. He said he wanted to see Sikhs as a larger part of the global cultural tapestry as the religion that assimilated without diluting its own identity or compromising on the core values.

Prof Juergensmeyer spoke at Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan. Among those present were Prof Jai Rup Singh, VC, Central University of Punjab, Dr JS Neki, Professor of Eminence, Punjabi University, Patiala, NS Sarna, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Kuldip Nayar, former Governor of Karnataka TN Chaturvedi and Dr Rupinder Kaur.

Source: The Tribune

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