Bringing Clarity to the Afghanistan Crisis and What it Means for Sikhs

In such sensitive times it is important for the world-wide Sikh community to be aware that the Sikh turban and beard may...

Amid the urgency of the Afghani crisis, confusion and fear are paramount. Many seek to flee what they perceive to be a reign of terror. Utmost calm is needed for resolution without conflict and violence.

Sikhs in Afghanistan 

In the midst of the urgent Afghanistan crisis, what does it mean for Sikhs caught up in the turmoil as Taliban leadership takes control of the government?

Sharia Law

Sikhs who remain in Afghanistan would be subject to Islamic Shari Law, as enforced by Taliban leadership. Sharia law stipulates that in Muslim occupied territory, any who do not embrace Islam are obligated to pay a Jizzia tax, leave the country, or face death. As occurred in several instances in Pakistan just a decade ago, Sikhs were forced to pay tax or flee their homes.

320 Take Refuge in Kabul at Karte Parwan Gurdwara

Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, has indicated that 270 Sikhs and 50 Hindus have taken refuge in Kabul at the Karte Parwan Gurdwara according to Manjinder Singh Sirsa of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) who is in communication with Gurnam Singh,  the President of the Gurdwara committee, and has met with Taliban leaders who have given assurances for their safety. (Organizer) (Times Now Digital)

Evacuation Measures

On Monday, August 16, 2021 Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh arranged with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to organize “immediate evacuation” of all 320 Indians sheltering in the Kabul gurdwara as soon as commercial air travel resumes. Arindam Bagchi, India’s Ministry of External Affairs, who claims to be in “constant touch with representatives of Afghan and Sikh communities” has promised, “The government will facilitate repatriation to India… and take all steps to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals… in Afghanistan.” (NDTV All India)

Offer of Immigration

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Marco E L Mendicino, Minister of National Defense Harjit S Sajjan, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau, have jointly pledged to offer refuge to 20,000 Afghan minority refugees including Sikhs and Hindus. (India Today)

Sikh Resources

The Sikh Coalition in the USA, and World Sikh Organization in Canada, represent Sikh interests in their countries and urgently advocate resettlement of Afghani Sikh refugees. In the United States, the Sikh Coalition has been instrumental for decades in lobbying for Sikh civil rights, and religious rights, in both the workplace and public, and continues efforts to educate Americans about Sikh identity. In such sensitive times it is important for the world-wide Sikh community to be aware that the Sikh turban and beard may be confused with media images of Taliban leaders who have a similar appearance. Sikh Coalition urges vigilance against possible backlash, advises Sikhs to be mindful of their surroundings, and provides forms to assess and report any bias incidents, hate speech and crimes, threats, vandalism, and violence. They also offer a wealth of resources in both Punjabi and English including a Gurdwara Security Toolkit, educational brochures, posters, and legal representation.                                              

Sikh Relief

The international disaster aid organization United Sikhs Afghan has tweeted appeals from Gurnam Singh the president, and sangat, of Kabul Gurdwara calling for decisive action and urging world leaders to respond to the humanitarian crisis taking place in Afghanistan. Khalsa Aid India has reached out to organizations assisting Afghani refuges with offers to help. Other international organizations like UNICEF Afghanistan hope to continue providing relief to Afghani people in need. Your contributions can help.

Gurbani in Times of Crisis

Gurbani, the hymns of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, offer solace and strength in times of confusion and despair. Reading Gurbani, and listening to recitations, and recordings of Kirtan sung, is soothing and raises the vibrational frequency of the consciousness, in the body, and its surroundings. Videos are available as well as audio tracks on the Gurbani Media Center that offer selections such as:

~Dukh Bhanjani Sahib – a collection of 34 hymns of 5th Guru Arjan Dev affirming protection and healing with renderings from 15 to 45 minutes.
~Sukhmani Sahib – the Song of Peace Ang 262 through 296, (34 pages in all also by Guru Arjan Dev) with 24 Ashtapadis (verses) extolling the virtues of remembering the Divine with renderings of 36 to 120 minutes.
~Ardas – a Prayer of petition addressed to the Ten gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

~Paath – Devotional reading and recitation of Gurbani has a powerful effect.

  • Akhand Paath – Group devotional reading done in groups such as by taking turns reading entire scripture without any breaks in reading until completion. 
  • Sehaj Paath – can also be read in groups by assigning portions, or alone. 

Meditation for Bringing Light

Sit in a quiet calm place, close your eyes, center yourself in your heart, and with utmost love use your intent to bring light to surround the people and to their leadership to move forward in the highest vibrational frequency towards clarity and peaceful resolution. You may also wish to use this time for Simran remembering, contemplating, and uttering, “Waheguru Waheguru Waheguru.”

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