Love Trumps Hate - Sikh Research Institute

867 “hate incidents” were reported in the ten days following Donald Trump as the United States (US) President-elect by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a US advocacy group, terming it a “national outbreak of hate.”

Reports to SPLC have declined recently.

But wait a minute! “This movement is in the top of the first inning,” remarked Steve Brannon, “president” behind the president who thinks “darkness is good… Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power.” 

Top of the first inning is baseball lingo and in this favorite pastime of America I delve-in to seek some answers. American football politics might not work given the Super Bowl still uses Roman numerals instead of Arabic!

Baseball player composition has changed since the Jackie Robinson era. 70 years ago, the only place where a black man could swing a bat at a white man, and get away with it, was in the “Field of Dreams” in Brooklyn, New York. Baseball now is more global than American football, and minorities (Hispanics, blacks, Asians, in % order) are about 40% of the Major League Baseball players.

From Brexit to Trump as reality and Le Penn around the corner, the right-populism is going global. Ipsos MORI poll shows percentage people thinking their country is on wrong track: USA (63), Britain (60), Australia (57), Canada (47), and India (26). Of the aforesaid five nations, in USA and India the top worry is terrorism.  And that is what the “haters” now in charge of policies are fueling via “Muslim ban” and “ICE-forced deportations.

In 2017 national elections, Germans, French, and Dutch may elect populist far-right governments. And that’s just in Europe!

Back to Trump since that phenomenon is going global. Let’s understand the South Asian minority “leaders” of President Trump. Shalabh Kumar is of Indian Hindu descent; he is a “powerbroker” industrialist backed by ruling far-right Indian government. Whereas Jesse Singh is of Indian Sikh descent and Sajid Tarar of Pakistani Muslim descent; both have negligible support in their respective communities and are “token” or of “photo-op” categories.

In the same vein, globally minority leaders without consultation of the communities they represent are making absolute policy statements which come across as pandering to the populist right and without any doctrinal basis. For example, Bawa Singh Jagdev’s (National Sikh Council of Australia) statement same-sex marriage will “destroy the whole human race” has no Sikh doctrinal basis. Rather, it counters the very notion of “Ik Oankar” (One Force that radiates in all) which forms the basis for zero tolerance for bias due to race, gender, sexuality, belief, etc. And of course, he cites no Sikh survey conducted in Australia either to gage Sikh sentiments.

Immigration has become a major concern worldwide. In the US, the visa ban was already deemed illegal by its courts where targets were Muslims. India’s far-right Modi government is meddling with 1955 Citizenship bill which provides the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan as deemed to be “persons belonging to minority communities” and “shall not be treated as illegal migrants for purposes of this Act.” The current Citizenship amendment bill is targeted towards, you guessed it, Muslims.

It has been a month since President Trump’s inauguration; I suppose the bottom of the first inning is over. Even South Asians are organizing beyond its usual conventional “brown-folk” model minority stereotype as part of the Resistance.  And so too are United Colors of America with Love: gender, ethnic, and religious minorities in partnership with the majority white privileged ones. Atypical American Resistance! Recall “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” where it successfully demonstrated evidence-based approach conquers the flawed insiders. That minority-majority complex is something to be replicated worldwide.

In Panjab’s context, but extrapolatoble to the whole global North and South, poet Surjit Patar proclaims, that the responsibility to identify the villain rests with people:

When do I say demanding justice is not right?
When do I dissuade you from waging a fight?

To identify the foe is so essential,
To get mutilated without reason is futile.

And he draws attention to change transcending all conflicts:

Thrones did last, but not forever,
People betrayed, but not forever,
Drip by drip flows the water,
Urge to change is subdued,
But inevitable is the change.

A month of Trumpism in command has seen utter chaos in governance. Cultural icons, mental health professionals, journalists, policy-makers, conservatives and liberals are converging on this: Donald Trump is not fit to be the president of the US. In Baseball terms, it is the beginning of second inning, when will the umpire (the Judiciary) and the manager (the Republicans) change the player? And this ‘reality is stranger than fiction game’ in Washington is being played with hate and lies. This game may be shorter since it is incessantly interrupted by bad weather-temperament, the newest being target being the free press. Who will be around for the seventh inning stretch? 

Darkness must be addressed.

Jedi trains to confront Vader. The Jedi Order values wisdom, the Light. They are teachers, philosophers, scientists, engineers, physicians, diplomats and warriors who join the Rebellion to fight the Empire.

Jaswant Singh Khalra, Jedi of our times, remarked in Canada before his extrajudicial killing in India:

There is a fable that when the Sun was setting for the first time … light was decreasing … and the signs of Darkness were appearing … Darkness set its foot on the earth, but it is said — far away, in some hut, one little Lamp lifted his head. It proclaimed, ‘I challenge the Darkness. If nothing else, then at least around myself, I will not let it settle. Around myself I will establish Light.’ And … watching that one Lamp, in other huts, other Lamps arose. And the world was amazed that these Lamps stopped Darkness from expanding, so that people could see.

Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptural canon, brightens the gloomy scenario with the Light

Beggar is known as an emperor, fool a scholar.
Ignorant is known as an examiner, these are prevalent conversations.
Mischievous is termed a leader, liar occupies the best space.
Nanak: By becoming Perfection-Oriented one recognizes this is the Realm of Darkness. (1288)

Recognize the darkness of ignorance within you, your vicinity. Then, use your intellect, wealth, and strength to access the light, allow the light to enter you, enlarge you.

The Light brings out the Love, the love that shapes the collective will.

And yes, eventually, love does trump hate!


(Originally published on SBS on March 7, 2017)

Harinder Singh is an educator, thinker and activist who tweets @1Force.

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