Why are Punjabi people so attractive

Who are the Sikhs?

What is behind the attack on a Sikh temple in the US state of Wisconsin on Sunday (August 5th, 2012), in which six people and the gunman himself died? Was it hatred of Muslims that the assassin may have equated the Sikhs with? In connection with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Sikhs have been increasingly targeted in the USA. In fact, little is known about the Sikhs and their beliefs outside of India.

Sikhs in India

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is currently the most prominent Sikh

Most of the Sikhs live in the Indian state of Punjab. They make up about two percent of India's current population of around 1.2 billion. In the 1980s, fundamentalists among them called for the prosperous Punjab to split off from the rest of India. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the most sacred place of the Sikhs. On October 31, 1984, she was murdered by her Sikh bodyguards. Bloody pogroms were the result.

Diaspora widely dispersed

Up to 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States. The first of them emigrated to the USA in the late 19th century in search of prosperity. At first you worked primarily in agriculture, but now also hold public offices. The US President Barack Obama therefore emphasized when he expressed his condolences to the victims: "On a day when we talk about such a tragic loss in a church, we should remember how much our country has been affected by the Sikhs who are part of our American family. "

There are also large Sikh communities in Canada and the UK. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 15,000 Sikhs live in Germany.

The teaching

Representation of the founder of religion Guru Nanak on a painting from the 20th century.

Put simply, their beliefs are a mixture of Hinduism and Islam. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. The founder of the religion is Guru Nanak (1469-1539). He was born as Nanak Dev in what is now Pakistan, in Nankana Sahib about 40 kilometers from Lahore. Guru is a term of respect and means teacher. Legend has it that Guru Nanak, who was born into a devout Hindu family, had a vision while taking a morning bath in 1499. The then 30-year-old gave away all his belongings and went as an itinerant preacher across the country to spread his belief in one single God. Guru Nanak renounced the caste system and thus made the religion attractive to members of the lower castes.

The equality between people, which is anchored in Sikhism, is also demonstrated by the fact that men and women have the same first name. Gender is only recognizable by the surname - Singh (lion) for men and Kaur (princess) for women.

The teachings of Guru Nanak and the nine other Gurus who followed him are recorded in the "Guru Granth Sahib", the sacred book of the Sikhs. The temple of the Sikhs is called Gurudwara, literally translated as "Gate to the Guru". Everyone, regardless of religion or culture, can take part in the common meal in the temple, called langar, twice a day. Especially on Sundays, the day of the attack in Wisconsin, the Gurdwara is therefore a meeting place for all believers.

Religious symbols

Five religious symbols on the appearance identify a Sikh. Kes, the uncut hair that men wear under a turban, is meant to illustrate the respect for creation. There is also the wooden comb, kangha. The special dagger, kirpan, is a symbol that devout Sikhs defend the poor and weak. The Kara, a simple metal bracelet, stands for the community. A special pair of breeches, kaccha or kachera, represents sexual moderation.