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Jagmeet Singh: Canada's Beloved 'Sardar'

The party is keeping him as the 'sardar', the head. His concession speech felt more like triumph....

When you meet Jagmeet Singh you get the feeling he is family. For me he felt like an older brother who I simply hadn’t met yet. Before taking the head position for the NDP he was a member of parliament for a famously Punjabi district near Toronto. Instead of a stuffy corridor or a pretentious lawyers office Jagmeet offered his headquarters to be a space to empower local youth. Youth events, spoken word, art workshops etc. were regularly hosted in the Jagmeet office. It was not as if a politician was empowering the youth, it was as if he was one of them. He just happened to be a lawyer who was prevailed upon to enter the political world.

His personal history is a boy raised in adversity who learned to comfort and empower his siblings. Because of the bullying he faced as a boy he learned martial arts, which he still practices. Embodying his martial arts training, and Sikh ethics, he stands up for the little guy.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a complaint about this man, who’s character is positive and well rounded.

It struck pride in the hearts of Sikhs around the world when Jagmeet Singh was selected to be the leader of New Democrat Party in Canada. While the NDP is a national third party (now 4th party technically) it can affect national issues.

Jagmeet, a charismatic lawyer known for his physical fitness and sharp fashion sense (GQ interview here), is an Amritdhari Sikh. It is rarely seen anywhere in the world but Singh inspired the ire of India (who denied him visa) by voicing the injustices that occurred against Sikhs during1984 with the participation of many high profile members of the government. He asserted that Canada should label the anti-Sikh violence as 'genocide'. Why such a murderous abuse of power has not been highlighted by other politicians throughout the world is hard to understand but that is what makes Jagmeet Singh stand out. He is courageous. And he fights for the people.

One recent example of his natural inclination for brotherhood was when a reporter asked about a water crisis affecting an indigenous community. The questioner challenged Jagmeet’s pledge of significant funds to solve the problem “Are you just writing a blank check for all problems, for all indigenous communities across the country, once you get into office?” Without being defensive Jagmeet countered with another question, “If Toronto had a drinking water problem, if Montreal had a drinking water problem, would you be asking the same question?” Jagmeet continued his response and actually makes the public think for a moment about the absurdity of not doing what we can to help others in need.

It was this character that charmed Canada as Jagmeet gained more approval during the national debates. In fact he surpassed all expectations in the debates winning more hearts and minds as the weeks passed. 

The result of the elections yesterday was not terribly surprising, it was a long shot, to say the least, for Singh to win the Prime Ministership. However, it was a shock to the system that his party lost about half their seats. The incumbent Trudeau remounted his position as Prime Minister, but also lost seats. A defeat like this might normally mean the NDP leader would concede and be replaced.

Not Jagmeet. The party is keeping him as the sardar, the head. His concession speech felt more like triumph. He started out beaming and bobbing to music leading the crowd the wave with their arms in the air.

You see Jagmeet is now a very powerful person in Canada. The Prime Minister no longer has a majority of seats to back up and pass legislation he wants. With opposition from conservatives Trudeau will have to rely on the NDP to make a majority and get things done. Trudeau will now have to appease Jagmeet who now has a kind of veto power on a national level.

Just a few years ago it would have been hard to imagine a Sikh running for P.M. of Canada much less having the significant role he will now have in the destiny of the country. This is a great advancement for the identity and stature of Sikhs in the modern world.

It is the destiny given by Guru that the Khalsa will rise and be kings in this world. Different people have different definitions of what that means and entails. Jagmeet Singh offered his view what it means that Khalsa will rule [video below]. “Khalsa Raj to me is the rule of the sovereign... Ultimately I think all human beings are entitled to living in a state of sovereignty and freedom.” We are happy he’s a part of it, inspiring us to be as well.

Harijot Singh Khalsa

Harijot Singh is a graduate of Miri Piri Academy. He serves as creator of SikhNet Stories. He has also authored several research pieces on Sikh history as well as offered encouraging messages through his articles.

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