Australian newspaper Herald Sun has hurt Sikh sentiments after publishing a cartoon showing a cigar inside a Sikh’s mouth. Tobacco is forbidden in the Sikh faith. The Gurus spoke strongly against the consumption of intoxicants.
Sikhs in Australia were outraged after the article was published on May 14, 2015. The Sikhs in Australia requested the newspaper to issue an apology for the publication of the article. An Australian Sikh group named Turban 4 Australia said the newspaper often publishes content on Sikhs but such a publication is a first.
A representative of the group went onto say that despite knowing the beliefs of the Sikh faith, the paper still chose to publish the defaming cartoon.
The newspaper hasn’t issued any statement on the cartoon as of yet. Many Sikhs have started writing letters to the newspaper expressing their unhappiness over hurting their religious sentiments.
Smoking and drug taking is banned in Sikhism and using tobacco is listed in the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Code of Conduct ) as one of the four transgression (Kurahits).
“It may appear strange to people of other religions as to why Sikhism has such a Anti-smoking stance, the reason is that smoking is recorded as being forbidden by all the Sikh writers who were contemporaries of the 10th Guru.
According to these writers Guru Gobind Singh Ji was once riding with his Sikhs when he suddenly stopped his horse and after dismounting proceeded to rip out a wild tobacco plant. The Sikhs asked why the Guru had ripped the plant out and the Guru replied that the Sikhs should avoid alcohol as it destroys a generation but tobacco destroys several generations. The Guru then forbade his Sikhs to ever use tobacco. ” Sikhs.org
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