Why are Punjabis so loud

Däniken SO: Inauguration of the new Sikh temple

Däniken SO, April 19, 2015 (kath.ch) Today, Sunday, April 19, the new temple of the Sikh community in Däniken SO will be inaugurated, as reported by “Schweiz am Sonntag”. The new building was deliberately designed to be inconspicuous and adapted to the surroundings. Between 500 and 1000 Sikh live in Switzerland. In addition to the temple in Däniken, there is another one in Langenthal BE.

According to the newspaper, the new building of the Däniker Temple, which cost around 2.5 million euros, replaces an earlier one, which was located in the same location in a former car garage in Däniken. The Sikh community of Switzerland (Gurudwara Sahib Switzerland) is organized as an association, the purpose of which is to organize a social environment for the language and culture according to the teaching of the “Holy Book” and the ten human Sikh gurus (see box) . He also wants to teach the children of around 100 active members about their religion, the history of the Sikh and the North Indian language Punjabi. The association wants to further educate the Swiss population about the religion and history of the Sikh.

In the temple (Gurdwara) in Däniken, according to their website, the Sikh gather for a service every Sunday, where they "pray, make music and then eat together." According to the newspaper, Sikh travel from all over Switzerland, occasionally from France and Germany. The beginnings of the Sikh communities in Switzerland go back to 1984. In the wake of the violent clashes in the Indian state of Punjab between Sikh separatists and the Indian central government, a stream of refugees started at that time.

Two temples in Switzerland

The Sikhs in Switzerland split in 2000. The other group is called the Sikh Foundation Switzerland, based in Langenthal BE. According to the newspaper, the reason for the split was “interpersonal problems”. According to Inforel, there is no theological difference between the two congregations. While the “bright white splendor building” (Switzerland on Sunday) in Langenthal is mainly used for religious celebrations, the community in Däniken also organizes cultural events. It was also important for the Danish community to avoid the conspicuous when building their temple and to integrate the temple into the environment. The temple only has four small corner towers. According to religionenschweiz.ch (University of Lucerne), the temple in Langenthal is clearly recognizable as an Indian-religious building.

Open to all people

The Sikh temple in Däniken is, according to Jorawar Singh, who is quoted as spokesman for the community in “Schweiz am Sonntag”, “open to all people, regardless of their origin and their religious or social affiliation”. Missionary work is strictly forbidden in Sikhism. There are actually some sympathizers who visited the Danish temple. But they are primarily interested in Indian culture.

According to Jorawar Singh, many Sikh living in Switzerland no longer adhere to the rules that apply to their religion (see box). Many men do not wear a turban and have their hair cut. In school and at work, there is often a lack of acceptance for uncut hair.

The religion of the Sikh

According to Inforel, this monotheistic religion was founded by Guru Nanak (1469–1539) in northern India. Nanak saw himself as a reformer of a meaningless ritualized Hinduism and a frozen Islam. He taught an imageless monotheism that makes no distinction between people of different origins.

Its three principles are simple: work for a living, pray to God, share. In contrast to Islam, Guru Nanak taught rebirth. Nine other gurus followed Nanak. The tenth, Guru Gobind Singh, formed an independent religion from the reform movement in 1699.

Guru Gobind Singh explained the differences in birth as abolished, and men and women as equal. All men were given the nickname “Singh” (lion), the women “Kaur” (prince). Members of the Sikh community are required to wear the "5 K". These are five symbols that begin with the letter "K" in Punjabi: Uncut hair (Kesh), men are also not allowed to cut their beards and also wear a turban. A wooden comb (kangha) is worn in the hair as a sign of cleanliness. Special cotton underpants (kacha) are supposed to contribute to sexual moderation. A steel bracelet (Kara) reminds of the obligation to truth. A dagger (kirpan) worn day and night is the sign that Sikh defend the poor, the weak and the innocent.

Guru Gobind Singh completed the first holy book, he called it "Guru Granth Sahib" and declared himself to be the last human guru, and the holy book as the source of the spiritual as a guru. The Guru Granth Sahib contains texts by 26 authors from different religious traditions in different languages.

Several million Sikhs live outside India. For years, conditions similar to civil war prevailed in Punjab. Following the “Blue Star Operation” temple tower commanded by Indira Gandhi in 1984, thousands fled or emigrated to the West, including Switzerland. Today between 500 and 1000 Sikhs live in Switzerland. (sys)

More information about the Sikh religion: www.inforel.ch/i1268, www.religionenschweiz.ch

Sikh in Switzerland: www.sikh.ch


© Catholic Media Center, April 19, 2015
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