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The Journey Continues
A review of Being and Becoming a Sikh by I.J. Singh.
By GURMUKH SINGH
Gurmukh Singh retired as a principal officer from the civil service in the U.K. and is presently secretary of the U.K.-based Sikh Education Welfare and Advancement (S.E.W.A.).
Sikh Agenda (Yahoo! Groups), May 11, 2003
'The journey of Sikhism is itself the destination,' writes Singh, professor & co-ordinator of anatomy at New York University, as he invites us to accompany him on yet another adventure into the world of Sikhism. This simple statement also sums up the underlying theme of his three collections of essays published to date: Sikhs and Sikhism: A View With a Bias, The Sikh Way: A Pilgrim's Progress, and, most recently, Being and Becoming a Sikh.
I.J. Singh explores everyday topics under the searchlight of Sikh teachings. Essays on diverse topics look at today's world from a Sikh perspective. The reader accompanies the author on his journeys through the largely uncharted territory of 21st-century topics, looking for the path shown by the Gurus, relevant to all times and places.
The essays do not teach. They show the student of Sikhism how to learn. They are enabling D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) notes to enable the serious student of Sikhism to explore further and reach his/her own conclusions either in the company of other seekers in a sangat (the holy congregation in the presence of the Guru) or through his/her own research and analysis. Indeed, each essay is an exciting game of 'spot the Guru's signposting' in this area.
Being and Becoming a Sikh continues the theme from earlier collections, but with a noticeable difference: the author has come down more firmly than usual on certain issues e.g. distinct Sikh identity and human rights. As the author says in the preface, '. . . happy should be the author who has one good idea in his life time to explore and develop.' Being and Becoming a Sikh is Singh's one good idea, which he continues to explore and develop in novel and exciting ways. To be born a Sikh is achieved immediately upon arrival into this world; but to become one 'remains a work in progress' till the end of this life's journey.
I am sure many reviews will follow. Excellent reading, especially for the young and busy professional. We need more such Sikh literature for the Sikh diaspora. Recommended for gurdwara [Sikh place of worship] libraries.