I haven’t given India’s Independence much thought until tonight, after watching a netflix movie called Amu. I won’t go into any detail about this movie but will express the emotions it triggered for me.
I understand that every single religion has gone through their wars, sacrifices, martyr’s, torture & what not. When I watch a movie about Jesus and his sacrifice & torture why doesn’t the movie affect me the same way emotionally as watching this movie Amu? I thought about this and came up with this thought: It’s because of my history, my upbringing, my religion, my beliefs, my culture and my ENTIRE existence is based on my roots. These roots extend deep into Punjab, deep into 1984, deep into 1947 & deep into the 15th century when the Sikhsim seed was first planted by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. These roots are what create my family tree. These roots feed & nurture MY tree. These roots give my tree value & history. These roots are what keep MY tree alive. This is why my emotions suffer more when watching Amu, it’s because I know MY tree was almost cut down, it’s very existence could have been demolished.
Of course, as a human I should hurt just as much watching any and all religious torture, but I don’t, why? It’s as simple as because my religion is my family, it’s all the branches on my tree. I’m going to be extremely selfish & brutally honest here and state that I care and love my own children MORE than anyone else’s. I shouldn’t, I know, but I do (so please don’t hate me for admitting that). Having said that, when your OWN child hurts you hurt. Your own child’s hurt stabs you a bit deeper than anyone else’s child. This is how I view sikhism and its injustices. I can’t see beyond anything else other than the hurt sikhs have been through. So I question the term Independence for us. I looked up the exact definition:
Independence, what does this really mean? Webster defines it as:
: freedom from outside control or support : the state of being independent
: the time when a country or region gains political freedom from outside control
I thought about this and the key word that pops out at me is: REGION, not country but region. The reason this word keeps nagging at me is because Punjab, my root state, is a region of India. India is an amazing country that exists of MANY regions, religions, cultures, languages, dialects & traditions. When I think of India’s Independence I can’t relate to most Indians…why? Because I am a Sikh and sikhism, recognized as the 8th largest religion of the world, is still not as “free” as other religions in India. Sikhs are still not able to get married as sikhs, we have to register our marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act – this is just one example of how Sikhs are truly not “free” in their own country.
Sikhs are people who have in history ALWAY helped and stood by other religions, sacrificed for other religions, protected other religions, died for other religions…but I truly & deeply feel that when the time came to STAND for us, to sacrifice for us, no one really did. When India became Independent from the British it was Punjab who suffered the most, it was the partition that was brutal, murderous, torturous, barbarous, ruthless, anguishing, and merciless. I was genuinely & favorably surprised that Amu not only displayed these emotions but recognized some of the issues Sikhs still have.
I am NOT writing this blog post to downplay India’s Independence…not in the slightest. I am very proud of India and it’s rich history. I’m writing this post in hopes to bring understanding to those who are near and dear to me. I am not some “fanatic, religious person” and it truly baffles me that I have to explain myself if there is a picture of a 15th century sikh warrior on my wall, or if I chose to have my son wear a turban. These choices do not make me “religious”, far from it actually. I wish I was more religious. These choices are decision I made to “try” to become a bit more connected to my roots, because trust me, I am the farthest branch.