Sikh youth and dating
The film footage shows protestors referring to interfaith marriage (not just the Anand Karaj) as ‘messed up’, stating that ‘Leamington is finished when we’ve got elders saying it’s alright to marry white people, black people’.
Jagraj Singh has been one of the main spokespeople defending the protests.
The section on marriage states ‘a Sikh’s daughter must be married to a Sikh’ and tells Sikh women to treat their (Sikh) husbands with ‘deferential solicitude’.
Fortunately, more liberal Sikhs have spoken out about the hypocrisy of protestors who selectively focus on one section of a man made code of conduct that has itself been amended three times while turning a blind eye to serious issues like familial sexual abuse.
Two organisations behind the annual June 1984 commemoration events – Dal Khalsa and Sikh Federation UK – are the main Sikh fundamentalist organisations in England.
The Dal Khalsa is a right wing political party that emerged as a cover for Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s electoral ambitions so that he could present himself as an orthodox protector of the religion.
Along with the Babbar Khalsa International, they were implicated in the 1985 bombing of the Air India flight 182 from London to Montreal which killed 329 people and also the attempted bombing of the Air India flight 301.
In one such clip, he states ‘relationships or dating are not part of Sikhi, marriage is part of Sikhi’.
It’s true that kirpans are usually only carried by a small minority of baptised Sikhs but there is also a history in the UK of kirpans, and Sikh martial arts weapons, being used during violent in-fighting within in Southall, Birmingham, Coventry and Swindon.
As with these other episodes, the protestors filmed the incident and circulated the film footage in a move to publicly shame families already pushing against deeply conservative proscriptions.
Relationships outside the conjugal union are presented as uncontrolled lust and marriage is clearly seen as something that only takes place between two Sikhs.
The Rehat is highly gendered and presents a problem for minority Sikhs who do not subscribe to the Khalsa version of the religion.
Herpreet Kaur Grewal noted that the focus is always on Sikh girls marrying out while there is relative silence and inaction on caste discrimination and female foeticide.