Outrage is all I feel in response to the shooting at a Wisconsin Gurudwara that occurred yesterday.
Yes, this was an act taken against humanity.
However, it cannot be denied that Sikhs were targeted.
We were targeted and this was a hate-crime.
It feels like the week after September 11, 2001 all over again.
I watched on as the first Gurudwara in North America, the place where I and many other people my age, had grown up and learned about our heritage in the library on the second floor that had a computer that could type in both English and Punjabi, was burned to the ground.
Although that fire was attributed to a gas leak, occurring only weeks after 9/11, we all had our doubts.
I remember during a festival and everyone was on the block outside, conversing and such, when a non-Indian couple had made derogatory comments, annoyed that so many people were outside.
I could not have been more than 9 years old, but I heard what they had said and all I could do was to stare them down.
As Sikhs we tolerate other religions and as a contributing writer to The Huffington Post had said, “We are not a god-fearing people, but a god-loving people.”
We celebrate, not mourn, we meditate, not preach, and our philosophies are timeless, not archaic.
We don’t retaliate. We cannot retaliate. We’re all human.
Still, we need to be proactive.
Sikhs were the first immigrants from India to arrive in America. We were known as “Hindus” at the time. Yet, we’re still treated horrifically, even after one-hundred thirty years.
In 2010 I went to India. My family has a fresh memory of being displaced from our home in present-day Pakistan, as do many other families. As a result, I wanted to attend the symbolic flag-hoisting ceremony in Amritsar, on the border with Pakistan, so that I can fully part-take in my patriotism of Hindustan, or India.
While there, all the Indians, millions you could say, were rallied into bleachers. Non-resident Indians as well as other non-Indian passport holders could have also sat at the front. However, I’m glad to have sat amongst the masses and be a part of the country I will forever be a part of regardless.
Suddenly foreigners, in tank tops and rugged looking-hiker clothes were at the front and were dancing.
Suffice it to say, I was infuriated. This is not some sort of exoticism; this is a country, a culture, a history, a norm.
My dad, always calm, was explaining how Indians are extra-hospitable to guests of the country.
Well, I say stop it.
This is not just one individual’s act, mom and dad. This is one of many acts. Many individuals make a group.
Education is the key to change but if people do not want to learn, they won’t.
So, let us make them understand.
Perhaps, temporarily, it should be more difficult for those of non-Indian descent to obtain Visas.
I am incredibly content to hear that the Sikhs of India are protesting as well.
Let us make the ignorant hear.
We have to force-feed them knowledge.
If you want to appreciate the culture, then learn about it and not make a mockery of it by dancing at a historical event so that you can attract attention.
It’s time to make you understand -