Social media has been abuzz recently when photos emerged online of honorable Deputy President William Ruto adorning a turban at a SIKH wedding, witnessing the union of the Rai and Chatthe families at Nairobi’s Gurudwara Nanaksar.
Kenyans took over social media through their witty humor but there is a problem, ignorance is showing its dark shadows among Kenyans. Reading thoroughly through the comment sections on Facebook and twitter I discovered that a high percentage of Kenyans are not aware of the Sikhism religion and regarded the Sikhs as Hindus which is concerning as the presence of the Sikh community has been prominent for over a century.
Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world. It was founded by the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji during the 15th century India, and believe that there is only one God, formless, with many names. Sikhs can be identified by the names ‘Singh’(lion) and ‘Kaur’(princess).
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion and advocates for equality for men and women as well as people from every race and religion. The Sikh turban symbolizes discipline, integrity, humility and spirituality and is a mandatory part of the Sikh faith. Their core principles include; working hard and with honesty, share what you have with the needy and always remember God throughout the day. The Sikh place of worship is known as a Gurudwara.
The Sikh presence in Kenya dates back to 1985 during the building of the Uganda railway. The railway led to the settlement of the Sikhs in Kenya, where the sense of community imbued by the building of Gurudwaras in most areas of the country. As the community prospered they diverted their attention to the youth and built Khalsa schools to ensure the youth of all races received quality education. Sikhs have been regular contributors to the harambee spirit throughout the country and have established medical facilities, hospitals, clinics and schools.
Sikhism is a young, deep rooted religion that has been overlooked and misidentified many times among Kenyans, through this article I wish to create awareness about this religion that needs to be heard, known and read about just like any other. Let ignorance not have the best of us in this technologically advanced century where information is readily available.