What if for just a moment we left behind the labels that attempt to classify different types of Sikhs? Labels such as “Keshdari”, “Sehajdhari”, “Amritdhari”, “Namdhari” or “Nihang-Sikh”. Now, let me be clear. I am not saying that these labels are beneficial or harmful to the Sikh identity complex or that identifying within certain “labels” as a Sikh is wrong. I am just asking that we consider a world without them for just a few moments. Would we be a stronger Panth without these labels? Or do these labels allow for unity within each group of people who identify with a certain label?
These labels which define us shape our identities as we take on the journey to walk on the path the Gurus laid out for us. By having labels that describe who we are as Sikhs, they give us the chance to unify with other Sikhs who share a similar outlook on Sikhi and similar values. It gives us Sangat which is incredibly important for spiritual growth and development during this human life. Finding a collective sense of community allows us to find support during the Sukh and Dukh that Akaal Purakh presents to each soul on this planet. One could say that these labels do fuel the internal politics within the Sikh Panth is true but on the other hand they allow for Sikhs to share a common theology. Labels such as “Amritdhari” or “Keshadari” are at the core just a way to factually state a person’s theological beliefs within Sikhi.
However, as previously stated, labels such as “Keshdhari” or “Amritdhari” could constrict the identity of the Sikh being described in a conversation. If these labels are just a social construct, maybe Sikhs would be freely able to ignore the constraint of these identifiers and be able to work together effectively without political divisions. Maybe if we got rid of them altogether, it would solve some of the infighting that exists in our community?
By having labels in the Sikh community, we are creating a great opportunity for Sikhs of many walks of life to unite under a common theological practice. Not only that, they give a chance for Sikhs to find common ground in Sangat. While to an extent, they fuel Sikh politics, it is important to note that we can all still identify with these labels and be able to work together towards a better future.
~Bhul Chuk Maaf Ji~
Maigh Kaur Jammu