is sikh' an ethnicity

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November 29th, 2020

About 76% of all Sikhs live in the north Indian State of Punjab, forming the majority (about two-thirds) of the population. The Punjab is considered the historic homeland of Sikhs and the majority, including myself, originate from there. Specific information affecting them, elicited from the census reports, will enable the central and local government, health authorities and many other organisations to target their resources more effectively and planning support to help those issues in the Sikh community in the national interest. SEE ALSO: British Sikhs may get ethnicity status in census – Report. “I think this campaign is divisive and counter-productive because there has been hardly any consultation and debate with Sikhs about it,” Sunny Hundal, a Sikh journalist, tells i. So is there a solution? iStock Sikhs meet the criteria for representation in the US Census as a distinct ethnic group and have a distinct unified appearance, culture, language, food and history. “I will continue to tick Sikh just as my religion not my ethnicity. For many years there has been a campaign for an independent Sikh state. For me it doesn’t satisfy what an ethnicity is,” says Rosie Ginday, a patisserie chef whose mum is Sikh Punjabi. For instance, there is a "white" category, containing white British and Irish and other white ethnicities, followed by an Asian/Asian-British…, — RedTurbanRebellion (@TurbanRed) July 27, 2018. For example, over the past 80 years, the Bangladeshi ethnicity was originally Indian before the Indian independence and after that they became Pakistanis and are now Bangladeshis on the secession of the then East Pakistan. UNITED SIKHS today is proud to announce that the United States 2020 Census will include coding for Sikhs, which means that Sikh Americans will be counted as a separate ethnic group. Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon, an active member of the Sikh community, says it is impossible to compare members of a religion with an ethnicity even for data-gathering purpose. At the time, the Race Relations Act only provided protection on grounds of race, nationality and ethnicity – not religion. An aggressive monitoring of this most distinguished ethnic minority justifies a separate category for them. But some within the religion’s community feel strongly that these options are not enough. Worse, it gives the wrong impression of [Sikhism] to the wider public because you cannot change your ethnicity but you can adopt Sikh beliefs.”. Sikhs number about 25 million worldwide, and approximately 83% of them live in India. In the last census, in 2011, more than 83,000 Sikhs refused to tick any of the ethnicity options. Khalistan would encompass the Punjab, which straddles eastern Pakistan and northern India. On the 2021 census, I’ll write that my name is Serina Sandhu, that I was born in England and that my religion is Sikh. All rights reserved. This was “institutionalising discrimination against the Sikh community as a whole”. Lord Singh also refutes the notion that the 1976 Race Relations Act protects Sikhs as an ethnic minority – another argument pushed by proponents of ethnic classification. But what if the campaign is successful? Before the British annexed the Sikh Empire in 1849, the Sikh ethnicity was glaringly Punjabi. Substantial communities of Sikhs live in the Indian states or union territories of Chandigarh where they form 13.11% of the population, Haryana (over 1.2 million), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir. The Sikh ethnicity must be looked at in that context and there should be no hesitation in affording a separate category for the Sikhs in line with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. He rejected man-made labels such as caste, race, class hierarchy and by extension, today’s debate on ethnicity.”. It is not yet clear whether the ‘Sikh’ option, if adopted, would be a separate category under the ethnicity question or whether it would be an Asian sub-category. “It’s an agenda being pushed by a few small but vocal groups. However, the concept of Sikh ethnicity is peculiar in itself since the law in this country recognises their legal identity as a race, religion and national group. Sikhs across the UK have been campaigning with concerted efforts to ensure that they are given ethnic status. “And I suspect most British Sikhs will do the same,” he added. Lord Singh suggests it would be sensible to have a ‘Punjabi’ ethnic category rather than a ‘Sikh’ one, saying that people from the region have a shared history, language, culture and propensity to certain diseases. With growing number of adherents to the Sikh faith around the world, irrespective of their colour, race or nationality, the Sikh identity and ethnicity does not change because it is a cardinal principle of Sikhism that one should ‘recognise the human race as one’- Guru Gobind Singh. Activists have been calling for Sikhs to have their own ethnic group in the next census and their comments have led the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – responsible for the census in England and Wales – to hold consultations with the public and stakeholders on the matter. Worse, it gives the wrong impression of [Sikhism] to the wider public because you cannot change your ethnicity but you can adopt Sikh beliefs,” he adds. However, this data was considered inconclusive because so few households responded. But the complex issue of Sikhism and ethnic categorisation appears to be causing disagreement and hostility among some parts of the community. The former Race Relations Act 1976 recognised the Sikh together with the Jews as a separate race. London: Sikhs will not be recorded as an ethnic group in the 2021 UK census, as the community group has lost its long-drawn out battle in the London high court to challenge the ethnicity … The idea that a religion, which by definition is about beliefs, could be considered an ethnicity, which is usually about inherited characteristics people share, is seen as ludicrous by some. Among the most logical of the reasons in favour of ethnic classification is to ensure public service providers have the data they need for Sikhs, which make up the fourth largest religious population in Britain. How to reach us: Facebook message or WhatsApp +6017-335-1399. Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription. Some Sikhs were expelled from Pakistan after partition and so may not want to tick this option. The majority of Sikhs like myself get confused when they have to tick the ethnicity box and about 83,000 Sikhs ticked the ‘other’ category in the 2011 census as they could not identify the correct box to express their ethnicity. For Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal, senior lecturer in Sikh Studies at the University of Birmingham, the ONS’s consultation feels premature. The writer is a retired High Court Judge in Uganda and Director of Gurbani Centre UK, a Sikh charity, British Sikhs may get ethnicity status in census – Report (Asia Samachar, 29 July 2018), US issues apology after Canadian minister told to take off turban at airport (Asia Samachar, 11 May 2018), Social Issues and Identity Threat of the Sikh Minority Community in Malaysia (Asia Samachar, 28 Dec 2015), [ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Asia. “Have the views of the 346,658 Sikhs who presumably ticked one of the existing ethnic categories [in the 2011 census] been sought?” she asks.

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