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sikhs - a unique race?


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Sat Sri Akal:

Cultural yes. Biological and genetic...no. Sikhism has been embraced by many different races (ie. Caucasians, African Americans etc.)

The Jews were of one genetic population, and the religion was confined to that particular genetic population (according to the Bible: Old Testament).

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many sikhs/sikh groups in the uk have been campaigning for seperate ethnic monitoring. the reasons as well as support for this are clearly laid out in the following info i've pasted from:


some of the the benefits are:

- levels of discrimination becoming detectable.

- resources will be more accurately allocated considering the size and nature of the sikh community.

- perhaps the sikh people will have a louder voice when it comes to human rights abuses and other political issues which affect them.



British Sikh Federation

British Sikhs should be classified as a separate Ethnic Group

The BSF is urging Prime Minister Tony Blair to implement his commitment by providing equality of opportunity in the following areas: -

Include a separate ethnic group monitoring category of Sikh in the 2001 Census;

Include British Asian languages, in addition to just Gaelic languages, in the 2001 Census.

The Prime Minister has been asked to avoid the bureaucratic conservatism of the past, and to provide equality of opportunity. He should honour the commitment that was given on 28 September 1999 at the Bournemouth Labour Party Conference with action on the above 2 items, and not to let it just be political rhetoric. After all, British Asians have grown up in this country, been to the same schools, colleges, and universities as the Prime Minister, and deserve to be given equality of opportunity as well.

Other political parties recognise and accept that British Sikhs should be given equality of opportunity, and have a separate ethnic group monitoring category.

Many Labour MPs and MEPs have written to the relevant Minister in support, e.g. Alan Donnelly MEP (Labour MEPs Leader), Dennis Turner MP, Bruce George MP, etc.

All the other leading political parties have given their support, e.g. Richard Allan (Liberal Democrat Party), William Hague (Conservative Party), Edward McMillan-Scott (Conservative MEPs Chairman), Winfred Ewing (Scottish National Party), Dayfdd Wigley (Plaid Cymru)

The following are just a few of the supporting letters :-

David Martin MEP, Labour, Vice President of the European Parliament, letter to Minister:

" I respectfully urge you to consider the case for making Sikhs a separate ethnic group category. Such a move would be in line with recent House of Lords court decisions.

I believe the Sikh community in Britain have a strong case for such monitoring and I am sure revised categories can be put in place for the next Census in this regard."

Alan Donnelly MEP, Leader of Labour MEPs

"I do fully understand your concerns and hope that my action can help in some way towards the British Sikh Community having a separate ethnic monitoring category."

William Hague MP, Leader of the Conservative Party :

"We consider Sikhs to be a separate ethnic group and would support a revision of categories used for the next Census to reflect this."

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Chairman of Conservative MEPs

"I am happy to confirm my support for Britain’s Sikh Community to be separately identified in ethnic monitoring."

John Stevens MEP, Conservative Party :

"I thoroughly agree with the comments you make and with the House of Lords court decision that Sikhs are an ethnic group which should have a monitoring category of its own."

Richard Allan MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Community Relations :

"… which I believe justifies the inclusion of Sikhs as a separate ethnic group, a view upheld by The House of Lords. The British Sikh Community is a population of about 600,000 and merit recognition of their ethnic status."

Robin Teverson MEP, Liberal Democrat, letter to Minister :

"I am persuaded that they have a strong case, the details of which I am sure you are already aware, for the creation of such a category, and that, given this background, their numbers alone warrant their recognition as a separate ethnic minority."

DrWinifred Ewing MEP, President Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) :

"I have supported your cause consistently"

Dafydd Wigley MP, President of Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalists Party) :

"I personally believe that the most appropriate way of pressing the issue is to persuade the Government Minister to include the changes in the next Census. That would then lead to local authorities and other bodies taking note of the matter."

The highest court in the country, House of Lords, has accepted that Sikhs are an ethnic group, on the basis of ethnic origins based on a common geographical origin or descent, a common language, a common literature, a long shared history, a separate identity distinguished from other groups, a separate alphabet, historical political sovereignty, etc. The House of Lords clearly rejected that Sikhs were just a religious group, but held that Sikhs were also an ethnic group.

Some 1.5 million Sikh officers and soldiers served to defend Great Britain during both World Wars, and helped to liberate European, African, and Asian countries; some 83,005 Sikhs gave up their lives, whilst 109,045 were wounded. Many Sikhs were awarded Victoria Crosses for their bravery during both World Wars. We made the highest contribution of all the ethnic minority groups now settled in the UK.

The 600,000 British Sikh Community is larger than many of the other monitored groups and deserves to be fairly treated, e.g. the 1991 Census figures give Black-African (212,000), Other Black (178,000), Pakistani (477,000), Bangladeshi (163,000), Chinese (157,000). This helps them to get jobs, promotions, and service delivery since they are monitored as separate ethnic groups. The British Sikh Community also needs to be monitored as a separate ethnic group, since this effects our jobs, promotions, and service delivery by Government departments and employers.

The British Sikh Community can be easily monitored as an ethnic group, and responsible organisations have done so, e.g. Hertfordshire County Council, West Midlands Police, South Bucks (near Slough) Council, British Energy, and Birmingham City Council for delivery of services

We need to have a separate ethnic group category since it is used by employers for monitoring and job setting targets; employers do not use religious categories for such purposes. The British Sikh Community cannot accept that we should have to write out our ethnic identity under the "other" box, whilst other smaller ethnic groups have their own unique boxes.

More than half of the British Sikh Community have been born or have grown up in the UK, and approx. 80% of Sikhs settled in the UK have British nationality instead of Indian nationality, and this proportion is increasing all the time.

A language is the soul of the community, and British Asian languages should not be wiped out through assimilation; we do not want to experience having our languages wiped out, as happened with the Welsh, Gaelic, and Celtic languages previously. Special efforts are now being made for Welsh, Gaelic, and Celtic languages (see BBC 1 Ceefax, 8 June 99), and the same should be done for British Asian languages. One of the first steps is to include our Asian languages in the 2001 Census.

With regard to Gaelic languages. ex-BBC Director Alasdair Milne is to head a task force to look at the feasibility of a Gaelic TV channel. The new Scottish Parliament’s deputy Minister for the Highlands and Islands and Gaelic, Alasdair Morrison, said broadcasting was "vitally important"; he confirmed that the new Parliament would ensure a secure status for Gaelic. He went on to stress that the future of Gaelic lay in the hands of the family, and announced plans for a Gaelic school.

The Punjabi language should be included in the list, since it is used by 70% of all Indians and Pakistanis resident in the UK; if others wish to, then Urdu, Gujarati, and Hindi could be added as well, although they are used by very much fewer persons as shown by previous surveys published by the Government Office for National Statistics.

Official Figures

Government Office for National Statistics for people living in Britain :

Pakistani – main language spoken – Punjabi: 48%, Urdu: 24%, English: 22%

Indian – religion – Sikh: 51%, Hindu: 33%, Muslim: 6%, Christian: 5%

Hindi is spoken by 2% of Indians

Government Dept for Education and Employment letter dated 5 Nov 99 :

GSE examinations in 1998 - Panjabi : 1,686 Hindi : 0 Gujarati : 1,147

A Level examinations in 1998 – Panjabi : 262 Hindi : 22 Gujarati : 0

Commission for Racial Discrimination

The latest 1999 data from the Commission for Racial equality states that Punjabi is the most commonly spoken language among British Asians, which includes 95% of all Sikhs and 74% of all Pakistanis.

Punjabi is the 2nd language in England, and is used by some 1.3 million people by Indians, Pakistanis and Sikhs living in the UK.

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here's another singh's argument which has been taken from:




The Sikh Identity (1)

From the Sikh Reht Maryada : Section One, Chapter 1

The definition of Sikh, Article I

Any human being who faithfully believes in

One Immortal Being,

Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh,

The Guru Granth Sahib,

The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and

the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru,

and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion,

is a Sikh

According to the Reht Maryada a Sikh is someone who beliefs in the teachings of Guru, and applies these in her / his life. There are no cultural or geographical references, no reference to being a Sikh because you are a Panjabi, or because your parents were Sikhs.

There is an ongoing discussion in the UK about the Sikh Identity. We are campaigning to get Sikhs monitored as a separate ethnic category. The Sikh ethnic category in the UK is based on the ruling of the Law Lords in the Mandla case. And I am in favour of this ethnic monitoring.

In ethnic monitoring the questions asked is : how do you perceive yourself ? There are people who see themselves as Sikhs, but who are not Sikhs according to the Reht. Other people who are Sikhs according to the Reht, do not feel comfortable with the idea of a Sikh ethnic group, and will not record themselves as such.

The ruling in the Mandla Case sees Sikhs as an ethnic group, not on racial grounds, but from the cultural point of view. The Law Lords start with two criteria which are necessary to be regarded as a 'cultural' ethnic group : (1) a long shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups, and the memory of which it keeps alive; (2) a cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with religious observance.

The shared history, which is mentioned, is our rich Sikh history since 1469, not just in Panjab but also in North America, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and East Africa. Sikh history is being made all over the world right now.

The Sikh cultural tradition is a more difficult subject. If we just look at culture as things that 'Sikhs' do, you might end up including honour killings as part of 'Sikh' culture, as there are 'Sikhs', who think their honour is more important than Guru's teachings. We will continue this discussion next week.

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Sat Sri Akal:

I do not want to detract the discussion from the topic of Sikhs being a separate race but...

According to te Old Testament (the Jewish Bible), the Jews were a set group of individuals which all arose from Abraham and his wife, which produced Isaac, who is the Jewish ancestor of all "genetic" Jews. Abraham also had a child by a maid of Abraham's wife because she was unable to conceive before Isaac. This child is Is-mael, who I believe is the ancestor of the Arabs or Palestenians, from which Islam arose.

So the Old Testament says that the Jews were a genetic people who were given a religion by the Almighty. This converting into Judaism is a new concept, not one in the Old Testament.

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Sikhs do meet the criteria of being a serperate 'ethnic origin' according to the UK case of Mandla v Dowell Lee (1983) 2 AC 548, cetain conditions were produced which had to be met for a group to be covered by the 1976 Race Relations Act:

1. A long shared history and cultural tradition are essential. The group differentiates itself from others and its cultural traditions: family, customs and manners are maintained.

Other conditions - possibly not exclusive to the group - may be considered: -

2. Shared origin (geography) or descent - common ancestors

3. Language (though this need not be exclusive)

4. Common literature

5. Religion, may be different from neighbouring groups

6. Being a minority or dominant or oppressed group in a community

From this case is can be seen that Sikhs, Jews and Gypises can be recognised as being a seperate 'ethinc origin' whereas, Muslims and Rastafarians can not, as they do not fit within the criteria held in the Mandla case.

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Sikhs are not a race, they are followers of an ideology. However, Punjabi Sikhs are indeed a race or can be considered as such. I would encourage all Punjabi Sikhs to call themselves this as it is your true identity. You should all oppose anything and everything that classifies you falsely as "Indians", because you are not "Indians"... They are a bunch of black skinned Dravidians (not that there is anything wrong with black skin), where as you are fair skinned Punjabi Aryans... Be proud of your race and more importantly, your Sikh religion! Sikhism is the only TRUE religion as it is completely compatible with Science!

Kind Regards,


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  • 2 months later...

Dear Mission_Impossible Ji,

I take great exception to the language you used in your message:

They are a bunch of black skinned Dravidians (not that there is anything wrong with black skin), where as you are fair skinned Punjabi Aryans

You know you've just contradicted yourself.

bunch of black skinned Dravidians

Bunch of black skinned Dravidians?? :shock: This kind of language I have heard from ignorant racist thugs.If you are a Sikh, then you seriously need to look at the language you use, in describing other peoples of this Mother Earth.

After describing Dravidians as "black skinned," you then say there is nothing wrong with black skin.Then why bring up skin colour?Are you not contradicting yourself?

Fair skinned Panjabi?I've seen many dark skinned Panjabis.In my own family there are those who have light skin, and those who have dark skin.From light skin, green eyes, brown hair to dark skinned curly haired; these are the kind of physical forms that make up my family.My family are all of Panjabi origin.

I think you are someone who hasn't been to Panjab.

Black skinned indeed! :x :x :x

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About Sikh being a "unique race".What a load of nonsense.A Sikh is simply a student of a Spiritual Master.The word Sikh comes from shish/shishya.The title shish has been used for millennia by many Guru's for their students.Sikh simply means "learner".

What about Panjabi Sikh?Well, as we all are witnessing nowadays, the words Panjabi and Guru Nanak da Sikh are increasing, permanently splitting away from one another.

To be a Panjabi, means to be a drunken ignorant lout.To be a Sikh is to give your head to Guru Nanak Dev Ji.I see less and less Panjabi's sacrificing their selves to Guru Nanak.

No need to worry though.Sikhi is about QUALITY not quantity.

I'd rather have quality, rather than quantity any day.

1 Khalsa = 125 000

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I personally feel this is a disgrace to attempt to confine the teachings of the Gurus as an 'ethnic' group for relatively short-term socio-economic and political gains.

Do you REALLY believe that Guru Nanak wanted to create yet another seperate race/ethinicity of people?

This whole idea SERIOUSLY misunderstands a basic teaching of Sikhi about the unity of humanity, beyond socially constructed boundaries. Plus what happens to the Assamese Sikhs, the Bihari Sikhs, the American Sikhs?

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