Thursday, January 21, 2010

Separate Identity of Sikhs Rejected

A Sikh man who sought to log a petition to the Supreme Court in India for a separate Sikh identity has been disappointed as Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider the petition.

Petitioner Joginder Singh Sethi mentions a stipulation to Article 25, of the Indian constitutions that ‘guarantees right to freedom of religion’ and expressed concerns to the perception the constitution generates that Sikh are Hindus.
Sethi is adamant that Sikhs have a separate identity as they have a religion and a language that is not Hinduism. Sikhism if the worlds fifth religion.

He urged implementation of an eight-year-old recommendation of Constitution Review Committee seeking removal of the proviso.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and Deepak Verma explained the proviso to Article 25 to allay the misconception.

When Sethi's counsel Mukul Rohatgi argued for conferment of a distinct identity to Sikhism, giving examples of how Non Resident Sikhs faced harassment when they traveled due to their distinct identity, the Judges were not listening.
Rohargi further raised India’s lack of recognition that the Sikh Anand Kharaj (Sikh Wedding) as a separate entity, yet neighboring Pakistan have enacted Sikh Marriage Act.

The Bench agreed with the counsel that immigration authorities in Middle-East countries were stubborn but counselled the petitioner to move the appropriate authority in government for a solution rather than approaching the court.
As a consequence the petition was removed.

What is ethnicity, culture and identity?

Ethnicity - belonging to a group that shares the same characteristics, such as country of origin, language, religion, ancestry and culture. Ethnicity is a matter of biological and historical fact and is not changed by the culture in which a person grows up.

Culture - describes what people develop to enable them to adapt to their world, such as language, gestures, tools to enable them to survive and prosper, customs and traditions that define values and organise social interactions, religious beliefs and rituals, and dress, art, and music to make symbolic and aesthetic expressions. Culture determines the practices and beliefs that become associated with an ethnic group and provides its distinctive identity.

Identity - classified as an individual's personal identity, social identity or ethnic identity.

Courtesy: The Sikh Times, U.K.

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