Many Sikhs all over the world have joined together in support of protests by Indian farmers against new laws proposed by the Indian government. Solidarity has come from musicians, singers, sportspeople and many young second and third generation diaspora Sikhs who have joined social media and local drive-thru protests in British, Canadian and American cities.
A culture of protest is embedded in Sikhism through prayer, songs and stories, which inspires this sense of activism.
Modern-day Sikhs, through their poetry or music or through their voluntary work or political campaigns, explain how their religion’s history of protest against persecution and standing up to injustice, inspires their view of the world in 2021. Pavneet is a poet whose work is unapologetic and seeks to stand up for women, against a caste and patriarchal system.
DJ Rekha, based in New York, ran a broadcast through the 2020 US Presidential election night live on Twitch, and linked her music playlists to political campaigns against poverty, racism and sexism.
Sukhdeep Singh stood for the rights of gay people in India by setting up Gaylaxy, an online magazine, at 22 years old. He started a queer collective on Instagram in 2019 and he wore a rainbow turban to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The roots and passing down of stories in families from Sikh history, as well as the use of social media to spread campaign messages, are, they say, helping to nurture and grow a shared sense of Sikh activism against inequality and oppression.
Produced by Nina Robinson for BBC World Service. Executive Producer: Rajeev Gupta
(Photo: Farmers shout slogans as they take part in a protest rally against the central government's agricultural reforms in Amritsar on September 28, 2021. Credit: NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images)