Originally Published By Inderpreet Singh on Sikhnet.com
First Sikh Awareness Event by an American University
The Sikh homeland is Punjab, India, where today Sikhs make up approximately 61% of the population. Sikhism was started by Guru Nanak Dev, with a universal concept of love and service without distinctions and divisions of caste, creed or religion.
However there has been much ignorance about this newest religion with SIKHS often seen as victims of MISTAKEN IDENTITY. Many Sikh foundations have come up to educate masses but nothing substantial have been done before by academic institutes to educate the young non-sikhs about SIKHISM. Marquette University in Wisconsin took this initiative to start an interfaith dialogue to educate its youth about SIKHISM.
On November 12th 2013, over 150 students, faculty and people from different classes of the society and different religions of the world assembled to attend one of the biggest interfaith event in the city of Milwaukee.
|A First by a USA University|
|“For the first time, a US university has come forward to promote Sikhism. Marquette University (Wisconsin) organized a Sikh Awareness event in its campus.Students from different religions and background participated in the event which showcased the purpose of life through
1. Importance of sitting down and eating together
We appreciate the step taken by the University and are sure that this would act as an impetus to educate everyone towards Sikhism. We request all our brothers and sisters to start the same in their respective Universities and help us spread SIKHISM. Nothing more powerful than an educated society”
Submitted by Inderpreet Singh
The Jesuit University which has always laid strong emphasis on education and diversity provided the entire infrastructure, management, funds and other necessary logistics required to bring this dream project to reality. The event “Purpose of Life” strongly emphasized the importance of good deeds and was named in line with the three basic tenants of the religion; “Naam Japna” (Do Meditation and remember him all the time), “Keerat Karna” (Honest and righteous living) and Vand Chakna (Share your earnings) says Jasleen Kaur, one of the students who organized the event. “Sikhism was started to educate the people of that time against rituals, caste practices, and ignorance. “The purpose of a SIKH (Which translates to Sikhna; meaning a learner in Punjabi) gets defeated if you keep the religion in the four boundaries of a Sikh temple. It is time that we step out of our Gurudwaras (Temples) and do our duty in a way that permeates in the whole society” adds Mandeep Kaur who hosted this event.
The event started with the food and people from different religions shared the food. Most of them were happy to sit on the floor and some even helped to serve the food. The event that brought much attention was the skit performance where a family showed a normal routine schedule of a Sikh family. One of the male participant even untied his turban to show what is inside his turban. People were in amazed to see Sikh’s commitment when they were told that Sikhs never ever cut their hair in their whole life. The skit also followed a big question and answer round where people who were new to this religion asked questions about the Sikhism. Participants answered the questions and helped a big array of population get educated about the religion. The skit was aimed to educate today’s youth about the religion, its fundamental principles, the need to wear a turban and the importance of five articles of faith.
“Turban is not only an article of faith but also a constant reminder of our commitment to our GOD”, says Dr Rubal Dhillon who volunteered as a participant in the Skit. The skit drew a big crowd and led to an interfaith dialogue among experts from Christianity, Jewish religion, Sikhism, Islam and Zoroastrianism.
All the experts had a long dialogues and quotes excerpts from the respective holy books which translate to the same concepts of “One Almighty”, “Truth” and “Love”. There were some differences in the approach between the different cultures but all unanimously agreed that the final result was the same. A small Bhangra was performed by the students of Marquette University to introduce the rich Punjabi culture to the youth. People were over thrilled after the event and hopefully would now be able to relate more to their new Sikh friends and their commitment towards Sikhism.