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"ਲੱਗੀ ਧਮਕ ਸਾਰੇ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨ ਅੰਦਰ, ਦਿੱਲੀ, ਆਗਰੇ, ਹਾਂਸੀ ਹਸਾਰ ਮੀਆਂ। ਬੀਕਾਨੇਰ, ਲਖਨਊ, ਅਜਮੇਰ, ਜੈਪੁਰ, ਪਈਆਂ ਭਾਜੜਾਂ ਜਮਨਾ ਤੋਂ ਪਾਰ ਮੀਆਂ। ਚੱਲੀ ਸਭ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀ ਬਾਦਸ਼ਾਹੀ, ਨਹੀਂ ਦਲਾਂ ਦਾ ਅੰਤ ਸ਼ੁਮਾਰ ਮੀਆਂ। ਸ਼ਾਹ ਮੁਹੰਮਦਾ ਕਿਸੇ ਨਾ ਅਟਕਣਾ ਈਂ, ਸਿੰਘ ਰਹਿਣਗੇ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਨੂੰ ਮਾਰ ਮੀਆਂ।(੬੩)"
- Shah Mohammed (Jangnama)

Canadian Sikhs on the Kirpan: Separating Fact from Fiction

April 7, 2010
Source: World Sikh Organization Canada

Ottawa – Due to recent events in Toronto, the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) published the following press release due to concerns about the perpetuation of incorrect and misleading information about the kirpan

1) Fiction: The kirpan is a dangerous weapon

Fact: The kirpan is not a weapon. The word itself means mercy or grace. It is neither designed nor permitted to be used in anger or as a weapon. Doing so represents a serious transgression for a Sikh and may result in penalty or sanction. The kirpan is an essential article of faith worn by thousands of initiated Sikhs across Canada. It represents spiritual power and speaks of morality and justice. The kirpan is worn by initiated Sikhs at all times day and night.

2) Fiction: The kirpan is a knife

Fact: The kirpan is not a knife. It is one of five articles of faith for an initiated Sikh. It represents the obligation of the Sikh to stand against injustice.

3) Fiction: It’s ok for practicing Sikhs to wear miniature or symbolic kirpans.

Fact: The kirpan is more than a religious adornment. It is mandated to be always worn and is part of an initiated Sikhs’ identity. It cannot be compared with a cross which a Christian might choose to wear. Although there is no fixed size for kirpans, most range between 6 and 9 inches in length. A symbolic representation of a kirpan is not acceptable to most Sikhs. Sikhs tenets require the wearing of an actual kirpan and not a replica of one.

4) Fiction: The kirpan poses a safety risk to Canadians

Fact: The kirpan poses no safety risk to Canadians. The kirpan is always sheathed and secured into a fabric holster and worn across the torso. Because it is usually worn underneath the clothing it is not easily accessible to either the wearer or a third party. In the over 100 year history of Sikhs in Canada, there have been very few incidents of the kirpan being misused. This shows the incredible restraint and spiritual significance of the kirpan to Sikhs. Calling for a prohibition on the kirpan based on a single isolated incident is unreasonable.

5) Fiction: The kirpan is only worn by men

Fact: Sikhism is an egalitarian religion that gives equal rights and responsibilities to both men and women. All Sikh articles of faith are worn equally by both genders, and both initiated Sikh women and men wear the kirpan. Not wearing the kirpan at any time, day or night, constitutes a grievous transgression for a practicing Sikh.

6) Fiction: Asking that the kirpan be altered in order to make it safer is a reasonable requirement.

Fact: The kirpan does not pose a safety risk. Presuming that the kirpan is inherently unsafe and that the intention of a Sikh who wears the kirpan cannot be trusted, reverses the onus or burden of proof. The right to be considered innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental right for all Canadians. Asking for the kirpan to be altered in some way shifts that burden in the case of a Sikh, and presumes that a Sikh is guilty until proven innocent.

7) Fiction: The wearing of the kirpan is an anachronistic religious practice that needs to be banned.

Fact: Protection of freedom of religion is a fundamental right that is enshrined in our Constitution. It is a value we hold dear as Canadians. Just because we don’t understand the religious practices of a group does not give us the right to prohibit or restrict them. The kirpan has a very deep spiritual meaning for the Sikhs. The message of the kirpan is consistent with all of our values as Canadians and is as relevant today as it was when the kirpan was first introduced. The right of thousands of peaceful Sikhs who wear the kirpan should not be restricted based on the alleged wrongful actions of one individual.


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5 Comments

  1. Iqbal Singh Toronto April 9, 2010, 11:04 am

    This is a very good informaton and explained well. It should be sent to all main stream media. Especiall, The Toronto Star. It has published an article regarding safety and mis-use of Kirpan.

    We need to educate both our own community and the main stream comminity regarding Kirpan worn by Sikh as article of faith and not for any kind of aggression.

    thanks,

    Reply to this comment
  2. R Singh Australia April 11, 2010, 10:04 am

    Great article. Very succinct and conveys the points clearly.

    I agree with the other poster in that it should be forwarded to all the media outlets in Canada so that non-Sikhs and some misguided Sikhs can learn of what the TRUTH is.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Gurpartap Singh April 11, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa,
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh..

    Kirpan is a weapon...No question about it and to bear arms is every human's right but a requirement for a true Sikh....

    Reply to this comment
  4. KARTAR SINGH SANDHU MBE LEICESTER,ENGLAND April 18, 2010, 7:04 am

    I am an Amritdhari Sikh hence wearing all the Five KS\\'.

    To my humble understanding Guru Hargobind Sahib wore Two Kirpans (MIRI & PIRI ). He raised an army of Sikh Saint- Soldiers and fought defencive battles against the Mugal forces to uphold the Freedom of worship, Freedom of Religion and to uphold Justice in lndia. He used Kirpan as weapon, Sword.

    Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, gave his Panj Pyaaras the Five KS\\' and made it obligatory on the AMRITDHARI Sikhs to wear them all the time as Articals of their Faith, not as symbols. He laid down in one of his compositions that when all other means have failed to get justice or to uphold the Human Rights then KIRPAN, SIRI SAHIB,the SWORD should be used to defened all those values of life.

    Then will you say that KIRPAN is SYMBOLIC or it is a symbol. Please Explain to me an ignorant Sikh.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Simirit Anand Singh U.S.A April 23, 2012, 7:04 pm

    Wahe Guru ji ka Khalsa Wahe Guru ji ki Fateh

    I offer my insight, humbly as a Sikh also still learning more from Guru Sahib every day.

    The 5 KS are practical in function with deep "significance" (or "symbolic" also). For example the Kachera aren't symbolic of clothing, the Kachera are significant Bana and clothe our body... Kachera are symbolic of modesty, chastity, & celibacy until marriage. In the same way, the Kirpan is symbolic of righteousness, greater protection, and gracefulness. The Kirpan as a 5K, is not a weapon and should never be used as a weapon, the Kirpans practical functionality is in its non-use as a weapon, that's why the kirpan is so special. There is equally as much power with inaction as action. Furthermore, when it comes to the swords we have many swords.

    The sword can also be know as the "S word" and with the power of the primal word or Shabd, Guruji has given us many words of bani to have through all of the challenges in life. "Bighan N Kooo Laagathaa Gur Pehi Aradhaas
    Rakhavaalaa Gobindh Raae Bhagathan Kee Raas"
    Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Ang 817

    No obstacles will block your way, when you offer your prayers to the Guru. The Sovereign Lord of the Universe is the Saving Grace, the Protector of the capital of His devotees.

    Reply to this comment
 

Disclaimer: Panthic.org does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions voiced in the feedback from our readers, and cannot be held responsible for their views.

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